EARLY ORTHODONTIC TREATMENT FOR CHILDREN
- Why would my child need early orthodontic treatment?
- How will early treatment benefit my child now and in the long run?
- What’s the difference between early treatment—and regular treatment?
These are a few of the questions that plague parents today.
Teeth crowding and/or excess space, jaw growth issues, protruding teeth, and bad bites can be inherited or caused by injury to the mouth, early or late loss of baby teeth, or thumb sucking and other habits.
At Petrous Orthodontics, we believe in treating only when necessary. The majority of children we see don’t need early treatment. However, if a child does need early treatment and doesn’t get it, this can make future treatment much more difficult. In fact, there are certain types of procedures that can only be accomplished successfully during a small window of time (7-9 years old) while the jaw bones are still “soft”.
Rather than wait for your child’s baby teeth to fall out (a popular misconception), we—along with The American Association of Orthodontists—recommend making the first orthodontic appointment around age 7. That way, we’ll be able to make an evaluation that monitors your child’s continued growth—and guides it intelligently.
WHAT IS EARLY TREATMENT?
Early treatment typically begins at around age 8 or 9. Also known as “Phase One,” its goal is to correct the growth of the jaws and certain bite problems, i.e. underbite. Early treatment also helps to make room for permanent teeth to come in properly, lessening the chance of extractions in the future. Sometimes, receiving early treatment as a child can even prevent the need for full braces in the future.
HOW TO TELL IF YOUR CHILD MAY NEED EARLY TREATMENT:
- Early or late loss of baby teeth (your child should typically start losing teeth around age five, and will have all permanent teeth around age 13)
- Crowded front teeth around age 7 or 8
- 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 (crossbites)
- Difficulty chewing and/or biting
- Your child continues sucking on his/her finger or thumb after age 5
- Mouth breathing
- Speech impediments
If your child is between the ages of seven and eight and shows signs of needing orthodontic care, or if you have been directed by your family dentist to visit the orthodontist, please contact our practice and schedule an appointment. Our Smile For Life! team will provide your child with an initial exam, and discuss with you the best steps to take toward caring for your child’s smile.