An Early Orthodontic Evaluation can Reduce Treatment Later
While most orthodontic treatment doesn’t commence until a child is older or entering adolescence, it is still a good idea for children as young as 7 to undergo an orthodontic evaluation. An early orthodontic evaluation may reveal emerging problems with the child’s bite and jaw development, and help inform the best course of treatment when the time is right.
The permanent first molars erupt at around 6-7 years of age and they make it possible to establish the posterior occlusion. Children at this stage may begin to experience crowding of the teeth (or the opposite, too much space between teeth), protruding teeth, extra or missing teeth or problems with jawbone development. While these tend to be congenital (inherited conditions), some problems can be caused by excessive thumb-sucking, mouth breathing, or dental disease stemming from tooth decay. In some cases, “interceptive” orthodontic treatment might be necessary during this early period to improve the chances that future treatment for a malocclusion or poor jaw development will be successful.
An early evaluation does not imply that an intervention is necessary at an early age.
For certain people, a timely evaluation may lead to significant improvements if an orthodontic intervention is indicated while for others, the immediate benefit of an early evaluation will be the parents’ peace of mind. The most effective dental care starts early in life. Not only treating immediate problems but also anticipating those that will require treatment later will help ensure your child will have healthy teeth for life.
Benefits of an orthodontic intervention done at an early age
For patients for whom an intervention at an early age is indicated, such a preliminary treatment makes it possible:
- To favorably influence jaw growth
- To balance the width of the dental arches
- To improve eruption patterns
- To lower the risk of trauma to protrusive upper incisors
- To correct oral habits
- To improve esthetics and self-esteem
- To simplify and/or decrease the duration of a subsequent corrective orthodontic treatment
- To minimize the possibility to see permanent teeth become impacted
- To improve certain speech problems
- To preserve or recuperate the space necessary for the eruption of permanent teeth
The dentist who does the orthodontic evaluation at the right time is perceived by parents, with reason, as a well-informed practitioner having his/her patients’ well-being at heart. Do not hesitate to ask your dentist in regards to your child orthodontist evaluation.