When is the best time to begin orthodontics in children?
With orthodontic treatment we can enhance a smile at any age, but there is an optimal time period to begin treatment. Beginning the treatment at this time can ensure the best overall results. We believe that the best time to screen for orthodontic problems is around the age of seven. At this early age, we are unlikely to recommend orthodontic treatment with braces. In fact, for most parents, the greatest benefit is the reassurance that everything is okay. However, where we do diagnose problems, an early screen may lead to significant treatment benefits.
What are the benefits of early orthodontic evaluation?
Early evaluation provides timely detection of problems so we don’t miss the opportunity for more effective treatment. Often there are problems in the back of the mouth that parents can’t see that we can detect at this age. These include cross bite, missing teeth, deep bite, improper tongue position, improper swallowing, impacted teeth and midline discrepancies. Prudent intervention helps overcome these problems, which if left untreated can contribute to more serious problems developing later.
Why is age 7 considered the optimal time for screening?
By the age of 7, the first adult molars erupt, establishing the back bite. During this time we can evaluate front-to-back and side-to-side tooth and jaw relationships.
What are the advantages of early treatment?
Some of the most obvious results of early treatment are: creating room for crowded, erupting teeth; creating facial symmetry through influencing growth; reducing the risk of trauma to protruding front teeth; preserving space for uninterrupted teeth; reducing the need for tooth removal; and reducing treatment time with braces.
Early intervention also reduces the risk of relapse after orthodontic treatment is completed. Simply put, teeth that have been crooked for a long time have a ‘memory’ of being crooked. Leave treating them for too long, then the likelihood that they’ll want to return to their original crooked position once orthodontic treatment is completed is much higher.
Also, if the first permanent teeth to come through between the ages of 6 to 8 erupt in less than ideal positions then correcting their position early will reduce the chance that the other permanent teeth come through in poor positions.
Is your child a candidate for orthodontic treatment?
Orthodontics is more than improving the aesthetics of the smile. Orthodontic treatment improves bad bites (malocclusions). Malocclusion occurs as a result of tooth or jaw misalignment. Malocclusion affects the way you smile, chew, clean your teeth or feel about your smile.
Why should malocclusions be treated?
Malocclusions can cause a variety of problems. Crowded teeth are more difficult to properly brush and floss, which may contribute to tooth decay and/or gum disease. Protruding teeth are more susceptible to accidental chipping as well as the obvious self-esteem issues of having ‘buck’ teeth. Crossbites can result in unfavourable growth and uneven tooth wear as well as facial deviations which can become permanent if not detected and corrected early. Openbites are associated with tongue-thrusting habits and speech impediments, which can also result in uneven tooth wear and unsightly facial growth. Ultimately, orthodontics does more than make a pretty smile – it creates a healthier you.