Early Evaluation, Timely Treatment
The American Association of Orthodontics recommends that all children have an initial evaluation by an orthodontic specialist no later than age of seven. This is important, because orthodontists can spot subtle problems with jaw growth and emerging teeth while some baby teeth are still present. Although your child’s teeth may appear to be straight, there could be a problem that only an orthodontist can detect. If there is a problem, the orthodontist may recommend that treatment is required immediately or indicate that it can be postponed until the child is older.
Each child’s needs are unique. In some cases it is best to begin treatment before all of the permanent teeth have come in – this is called Phase One/Interceptive Treatment. For other children, it makes more sense to wait until the permanent teeth are fully erupted and the roots are completely formed. Your child’s growth pattern will be analyzed so that a unique and customized plan can be developed for optimal results.
Starting treatment in a timely manner is important because it can improve the stability, function and aesthetics of the end result while helping to avoid possible problems as your child grows. Early treatment may prevent or intercept more serious problems from developing and may make treatment at a later age shorter and less complicated. In some cases, the orthodontist will be able to achieve results that may not be possible once the face and jaws have finished growing.
Early treatment also may:
- Lower the risk of trauma to protruded front teeth
- Correct harmful oral habits
- Improve appearance and self esteem
- Guide permanent teeth into a more favorable position
- Create a more pleasing arrangement of teeth, lips and face
- Guide jaw growth