The American Association of Orthodontists recommends a child first be seen by an orthodontist as early as age 7; earlier if a problem is discovered by a parent or family dentist. Many orthodontic problems are easier to correct if treated prior to the completion of growth. Early treatment may prevent the need for extraction of permanent teeth, surgery and other serious corrections later in life. However, due to the complex nature of orthodontics, early treatment may not be right for every child. Only after a clinical examination of your child can the proper treatment plan be determined.
AN OPTIMAL TIME FOR SCREENING
By the age of 7, the first adult molars erupt, establishing the back bite. During this time, an orthodontist can evaluate front-to-back and side-to-side tooth relationships. For example, the presence of erupting incisors can indicate possible overbite, open bite, crowding or gummy smiles. Timely screening increases the chances for an incredible smile.
THE BENEFITS OF EARLY TREATMENT
Early evaluation and treatment can yield many results, including the following:
• Creating facial symmetry through influencing positive jaw growth
• Creating room for crowded, erupting teeth
• Reducing the risk of trauma to protruding front teeth
• Correcting harmful oral habits
• Preserving space for unerupted teeth
• Reducing the need for tooth removal
• Reducing treatment time for orthodontic care
• Improving self-esteem, image and some speech problems