Parents often have questions surrounding early orthodontic treatment for children. They want to know whether early orthodontic treatment is beneficial, whether it will help their kids in the long-term, and whether it’s recommended. We aim to answer these questions on this page.
Early Orthodontic Treatment for Children
Many people assume that pre-teens and teenagers are the ideal candidates for orthodontic treatment. However, this is not the case. The American Association of Orthodontist recommends that all children have an evaluation appointment with a qualified orthodontist no later than age seven.
Your kids may have perfect teeth, but an orthodontist can detect when there are underlying issues that could affect the development of your child’s adult teeth. Sometimes, a child’s teeth are straight, but there are issues that need monitoring as your child grows and develops because of their bite and growth pattern. An orthodontist may also recommend that your child begins an early treatment plan.
The Benefits of Early Orthodontic Treatment
Early orthodontic treatment is the best way to prevent more serious problems later in life. At this stage, a child’s jaw and face are still growing, so we can achieve results that might not be possible once a child has matured and their jaw bone has hardened and stopped growing. It gives us a chance to guide your child’s teeth into the optimum position, improve aesthetic appearance, correct bad habits such as finger or thumb sucking, and reduce the risk of trauma to protruding teeth.
We can correct jaw growth and fix bite problems, make room for adult teeth, and reduce the need for tooth extractions later. Treating a child early can reduce overall treatment time, alter abnormal growth patterns, prevent extraction of permanent teeth, prevent future dental and orthodontic work, and prevent jaw surgery.
Key Stages of Early Orthodontic Treatment
- Phase one treatment begins at age eight or nine on average.
- Phase two treatment begins around age 11-14 in a typical case.
How to Tell if Your Child Needs Early Orthodontic Treatment
Not all children will need early orthodontic treatment, but there are some red flag warning signs that your child is a suitable candidate for braces.
- Protruding teeth – top and bottom teeth stick out, away from each other
- Crowded teeth by age seven
- A misaligned bite
- Thumb or finger sucking after age five
- Mouth breathing/tongue thrusting habit
- Speech impediments
- Problems biting and chewing food
- Jaw problems when opening and closing the mouth – this is known as a crossbite
What Causes Early Orthodontic Problems in Kids?
There are all kinds of issues that cause early orthodontic problems. Thumb and finger sucking will lead to protruding teeth; a bad bite or overcrowding may be inherited from parents. The early or late loss of baby teeth or oral injuries can cause issues.
We can detect problems, both visible and underlying jaw growth problems, and advise whether your child will benefit from early orthodontic treatment and braces for kids.
Make an Appointment to see a Kids’ Orthodontist
If you think your child would benefit from an early evaluation or your dentist has directed you to us, contact Lewis Orthodontics in Edmond, OK to schedule an appointment.