If you’re confused about the difference between early orthodontic treatment and regular orthodontic treatment, the benefits of early treatment, or why your child might need early treatment, you are not alone. Many parents have the same questions.
The American Association of Orthodontists recommends that children see an orthodontist as early as age seven. At this age dental problems are beginning to become apparent, but the growing mouth and mix of baby and permanent teeth make it easier to correct issues earlier on without surgery that would be required as an adult.
Early treatment (also known as Phase One) is required to correct skeletal jaw problems regarding bite and growth issues such as an overbite. Phase One treatment usually occurs when the child is between six and ten years old. Early treatment also helps permanent teeth develop correctly. Once most of the patient’s permanent teeth have erupted (typically during ages 11-13), Phase Two treatment will begin to maximize the appearance and function of their adult teeth and give them a healthy smile.
INDICATORS THAT YOUR CHILD MAY NEED EARLY ORTHODONTIC TREATMENT:
Loses baby teeth early or late
Difficulty chewing or biting food
Breathes through their mouth
Sucks their thumb
Has crowded, misplaced, or blocked teeth
Jaws appear too far forward or back
Jaws pop or make sounds when opening and closing
Teeth and jaws are not proportionate to the rest of the face
Bites the cheek or the roof of their mouth
Teeth meet abnormally or not at all
HOW DID THESE PROBLEMS OCCUR, AND HOW WILL MY CHILD BENEFIT FROM EARLY TREATMENT?
Early intervention is crucial to ensure that orthodontic problems do not persist and cause serious damage to the teeth and gums. Common problems seen in early treatment patients include underbites, overbite, open bite, protruding teeth, and crowded teeth. These problems can be inherited or can result from a number of environmental factors such as mouth injury, thumb-sucking or loss of baby teeth.
Early treatment is crucial for children because their jaw bones are still developing. Once patients leave their teenage years, their jaw bones harden and orthodontic corrections become more difficult and may require surgery. Because children’s bones are still growing, treatments such as braces take less time to complete for kids than adults. Receiving early orthodontic care can prevent the need to have teeth extracted or undergo oral surgery due to problems that could’ve been treated during childhood but were left uncorrected.
If your child is aged seven or eight years old and you think they may benefit from early orthodontic care, please give us a call to schedule an appointment. Dr. Majd will provide a comprehensive initial evaluation to discuss any problems and the treatment options that are available to you.