Early Orthodontic Treatment
Some children benefit from receiving orthodontic treatment early in life.
Orthodontic problems, even when severe, are not always readily apparent to those who are not orthodontists. This is why all children should see an orthodontist on or around their 7th birthday. At this stage, the child should be far enough along in their tooth development for problems to be clear to the doctor, but young enough that jaw growth can be used to the advantage of the patient, allowing the doctor to avoid serious interventions like surgery.
When a child benefits from early treatment, we implement Two Phase Treatment.
Two Phase Treatment, as implied in the name, is done in two phases. The first is when the child is young, around the age of eight or nine. The second comes sometime after the age of 11. This treatment can address severe problems, like underbite, without surgery.
Only an orthodontist can determine what treatment is needed.
With that said, there are signs that point to early treatment being necessary that parents might be able to observe. These include:
- Early or late loss of baby teeth
- Difficulty chewing and/or biting
- Mouth breathing
- Your child continues sucking his or her thumb after age five
- Speech impediments
- Protruding teeth
- 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
- Crowded front teeth around age seven or eight
Children can develop orthodontic problems for many reasons.
Genetics and habits both can play a role. Sometimes an injury can also cause problems that necessitate early treatment. However, it is vital that parents allow their children to be evaluated for treatment, as early help can allow the child to avoid tooth extraction, surgery, and more.
If your child is aged seven or older and has yet to see an orthodontist, contact us today.