Early Treatment

While there is no exact age for children to begin orthodontic treatment, the American Association of Orthodontists recommends visiting the orthodontist around age seven. By this age, most children have a mix of baby teeth and adult teeth, making it easier for the orthodontist to diagnose and correct tooth and jaw problems sooner and without surgery.

We agree that for some children this may seem too young. And in fact, we generally recommend periodic observations for most of the young children we see at the initial consultation, but for children with crowding, finger or thumb habits, crossbites, protruding front teeth, “underbites,” “overbites” or other alignment and functional problems it can be very advantageous. The benefits of timely orthodontic treatment for your child may include the following:

• Reduce or eliminate the need to extract permanent teeth
• Reduce or eliminate the need for jaw surgery
• Lower the risk of injury to protruded front teeth
• Correct harmful oral habits
• Improve the smile/self confidence
• Improve speech development
• Influence growth of the jaws in a positive manner
• Reduce appearance-consciousness during critical developmental years
• Improve the width of the dental arches
• Reduce or eliminate the need to extract permanent teeth
• Reduce or eliminate the need for jaw surgery
• Regulate the width of the upper and lower arches to provide a better foundation for the permanent teeth
• Simplify and shorten treatment time for full braces
• Reduce the likelihood of impacted permanent teeth
• Create more space for crowded teeth
• Guide permanent teeth into more favorable positions
• Improve lip closure
• Preserve or gain space for erupting permanent teeth
• Correct thumb-sucking and help improve minor speech problems

Becoming accustomed to an orthodontist, the office and the staff can also alleviate anxiety when it comes time to start orthodontic treatment. The patients and parents have a better idea of what to expect for treatment and the parents often have an idea of how payment schedules work and can look into insurance coverage if that is an option.

Here are a few things to look for that may mean your child needs to see an orthodontist:

• Problems to watch for in growing children
• A large overbite or underbite
• An open bite in the front teeth
• Early or late loss of baby teeth
• A hard time chewing or biting food
• Mouth breathing
• Finger or thumb sucking
• Crowded, misplaced, or blocked out teeth
• Jaws that pop or make sounds when opening and closing
• Teeth that come together abnormally, or do not come together at all
• Jaws and teeth that are not proportionate to the rest of the face
• Crowded or spaced front teeth around age seven or eight

Please contact us to schedule an appointment for an orthodontic evaluation. Early treatment now will give your child a healthy, beautiful smile for the future

For parents, it’s not always easy to know if your child may need orthodontic treatment and that is why we offer a complimentary evaluation…