Most parents know that routine dental care should begin during the toddler years. But many are unaware of when orthodontic treatment should begin. According to the American Association of Orthodontists, the ideal age for an orthodontic evaluation is age seven or before, when children usually have a mixture of adult and baby teeth. Although treatment usually will not begin until one to five years after the initial evaluation, the evaluation is helpful in determining whether your child has any problems with emerging teeth -- regardless of how subtle.
Children have more formidable bone structures than teenagers and adults, and as they grow, orthodontic appliances can help guide jaw growth, which may prevent the development of an overbite or under-bite, as well as tooth crowding due to space limitations. Orthodontic treatment is also helpful for guiding newly emerging adult teeth into a proper alignment, which is not only aesthetically advantageous, but also helpful in preventing tooth decay.
Why Early Evaluation?
Taking your child to the orthodontist for an evaluation means that you may be able to identify problems with the jaw and teeth early when they are still easy to treat. Early treatment often equals a more simplified treatment plan, which is beneficial to both children and their parents. Often, earlier treatment can cost less to correct a problem than delayed treatment.
If a problem is detected, our team will discuss corrective options and provide a recommended treatment schedule. Depending on your child's orthodontic needs, he or she may benefit from:
• Palatal Spacers - Helpful for correcting a crossbite by expanding the width of the upper jaw.
• Fixed Functional Appliance - Helpful for correcting severe upper tooth protrusion.
• Headgear - Helpful for guiding healthy growth of new teeth and the jaw. Headgear is removable, but usually must be worn at least 10 hours per day.
If your child is approaching the age of seven, or has already surpassed his or her seventh birthday, it is time to schedule an appointment for an initial examination.