When it comes to orthodontic treatment, early care can save you and your child time, money, and future difficulties.
The American Association of Orthodontists recommends that your child's first check-up with an orthodontist occur when an orthodontic problem is first recognized, or around age 7. By that time, your child has enough permanent teeth for an orthodontist to evaluate the developing teeth and the jaw. Coming in for an initial consultation at this age can provide a wealth of information and allow your Orthodontist to potentially detect future issues.
There are typically three results of an initial orthodontic consultation:
- No treatment seems to be necessary.
- Possible treatment in the future is needed, so the child will need to be assessed as they grow.
- Early treatment is highly recommended.
If your Orthodontist does notice issues, early treatment can help prevent more severe problems as the child grows. This initial treatment aims to eliminate any apparent causes and guides the growth of the teeth and jawbones. Once all permanent teeth have come in, the child may need a second course of treatment to set the final position of the permanent teeth.
Here are some problems your Orthodontist may notice even when your child still has their baby teeth:
- Overly crowded teeth
- Teeth that are too spaced out
- Missing or even extra teeth
- Issues due to the thumb-, finger-, or pacifier- sucking that is affecting the teeth or jaw growth.
Early Treatment Options
There are several conventional treatments your Orthodontist may recommend as part of early treatment.
- Fixed or removable "appliance" to either move teeth, change the position of the jaw or hold teeth in place.
- Removal of some baby teeth to help permanent teeth erupt into their ideal location.
While many parents believe problems requiring orthodontic care don’t start until kids are in their teens, the truth is that correcting orthodontic problems in their early stages is critical. If you catch potential issues early, you can likely correct issues now and, in turn, make any future needs less severe.
To provide your child with the best possibility for a healthy, attractive smile, call us today to schedule a consultation. We'll be able to detect and alert you to any potential problems and recommend appropriate treatment if needed. Remember, timing is everything!