Early Orthodontic Treatment for Children
The best time to take your child for their first orthodontic exam is when they are age 7. This, according to the American Orthodontic Association, is the ideal time because your child may be losing baby teeth at this age while adult teeth are beginning to appear.
Early interceptive orthodontic dental care is actually preventive care. Our intention is to prevent malocclusion (crooked teeth and bad bite) from developing. The goal is to allow the permanent teeth to erupt as close as possible to their ideal postition.
Early care can prevent potential problems that, left untreated, could lead to more serious dental problems later. We can eliminate the cause or control space, thus allowing the permanent teeth to erupt as close as possible to their ideal positions. This early intervention can reduce the length of future orthodontic treatment and sometimes make additional orthodontic treatment unnecessary in the future.
Early treatment (also known as Phase One) typically begins around age eight or nine (Phase Two will begin around age 11 or older). The goal of early treatment is to correct the growth of the jaw and certain bite problems, such as underbite. Early treatment also helps to make room for permanent teeth to come in properly, lessening the chance of extractions in the future.
Examples of early interceptive treatment include:
- Correcting thumb-sucking habits
- Guiding permanent teeth into desired bite positions
- Gaining space for permanent teeth
- Space maintainer to control/hold space after early loss of a baby tooth
- Correction of crossbites
- Correction of underbites
How to tell if your child may need early orthodontic treatment:
- Early or late loss of baby teeth (your child should typically start losing teeth around age five, and will have all permanent teeth around age 13)
- Difficulty chewing and/or biting
- Mouth breathing
- Your child continues sucking his or her thumb after age five
- Speech impediments
- Protruding teeth (the top teeth and the bottom teeth extend away from each other)
- Teeth that don't come together in a normal manner or even at all
- Shifting of the jaw when your child opens or closes his or her mouth (crossbites)
- Crowded front teeth around age seven or eight
What causes orthodontic problems, and how will early treatment benefit my child?
Orthodontic problems such as crowding of the teeth, too much space between the teeth, jaw growth problems, protruding teeth, and bad bites can be inherited or caused by injury to the mouth, early or late loss of baby teeth, or thumb-sucking habits.
Most children lose all their baby teeth by age 13, and by the end of their teen years, the jaw bones will harden and stop growing. Orthodontic procedures for adults often take more time and can involve tooth extraction or oral surgery. Receiving early orthodontic treatment as a child can help prevent the need for orthodontics as an adult, leaving little to no chance of extraction or surgery in the future.
When you need exceptional teeth straightening you can trust, call Beacon Orthodontic Associates at 617.738.4746 (GRIN). For your convenience, use our online Request an Appointment form to reserve your dental braces consultation or if you have questions about the cost of braces for kids. We serve the communities of Brookline, Jamaica Plain, Newton, West Roxbury, and all of the greater Boston Area. Contact us if you’re searching for an “orthodontist near me.”