When is the best time to begin orthodontic treatment?
In the past orthodontic treatment was commonly done in the adolescent years when all of the permanent teeth came in. We now know that though orthodontics can enhance a smile at any age, there can be an optimal time period to begin treatment and that time could be prior to all of the permanent teeth being present. We follow the American Association of Orthodontists recommendation that every child should have an initial orthodontic evaluation at the first sign of orthodontic problems or no later than 7 years old. At this age, orthodontic treatment may not be necessary, but a comprehensive examination followed by diligent observation can determine the most advantageous time to begin treatment.
What are the benefits of early orthodontic evaluation?
Early evaluation provides both timely detection of problems and greater opportunity for more effective treatment. Prudent intervention guides growth and development, preventing more serious problems from developing and therefore more difficult treatment later. When orthodontic intervention is not necessary, an orthodontist can carefully monitor growth and development and begin treatment when it is ideal.
Why age 7 is considered the optimal time for screening?
By the age of 7, the first adult molars and incisors erupt, establishing the basic bite. During this time, an orthodontist can evaluate the front-to-back, top to bottom and side-to-side tooth relationships as well as the overall amount of space available for the adult teeth. While children’s jaws will continue to grow and get larger, the basic bite relationship and the amount of space for the adult teeth is known by age 7 and will not change without orthodontic intervention. Timely screening increases the chances for an incredible smile.
What are the advantages of interceptive treatment?
Some of the most direct results of interceptive treatment are:
- Creating room for crowded teeth to erupt properly
- Creating facial symmetry through influencing jaw growth
- Reducing the risk of trauma to protruding front teeth
- Preserving space for unerupted teeth
- Reducing the need for removal of permanent teeth
- Reducing treatment time with adolescent braces
Why is it important to fix bites?
Bad bites (malocclusions) occur as a result of tooth and /or jaw misalignment. Malocclusions affect the way you smile, chew, and clean your teeth. According to studies by the American Association of Orthodontists, untreated malocclusions can result in a variety of problems. Crowded teeth are more difficult to properly brush and floss, which may contribute to tooth decay and/or gum disease. Protruding teeth are more susceptible to accidental chipping. Crossbites can result in unfavorable growth and uneven tooth wear. Openbites can result in tongue-thrusting habits and speech impediments and excessive wear of the back teeth. Deepbites can result in excessive wear of the front teeth. Ultimately, orthodontics does more than make a pretty smile; it creates a healthier you!