I am often asked the question, why are orthodontists treating children at a young age before all the permanent teeth have grown in?
We recommend that all children have an orthodontic exam at the age of 7. Not all children who are seen by an orthodontist at this age will need early orthodontic treatment. However, there are certain conditions related to the teeth and jaws, that if addressed at a younger age, can prevent the possibility of future tooth impactions, the need for tooth extractions, and even jaw surgery.
When I examine a younger child for the first time, I look for excessive crowding, spacing, overbite, deep bite, and underbite.
EXAM + TREATMENT
When I examine a younger child for the first time, I look for excessive crowding, spacing, overbite, deep bite, and underbite. When any of these conditions are present, it is prudent to begin early orthodontic treatment and utilize the growth and development of the child to his/her benefit. This phase of treatment is usually 12 to 18 months long and can be very advantageous in development of an ideal bite and a beautiful smile early on. After treatment, the child will receive retainers to wear at nights to keep the teeth in place while waiting for the rest of permanent teeth to erupt into the mouth. At that point, a second phase of treatment will start to align the permanent teeth and fine tune the bite. This second phase of treatment is usually 18 to 24 months long.