Early Treatment

When is the best time to begin orthodontics?

s-braces3There is no one answer to this question because treatment timing is dependent on the specific orthodontic problem. The American Association of Orthodontists (AAO) recommends that every child visit an orthodontist by age 7. If a problem is detected by parents or the family dentist, the child should of course be seen sooner. Age 7 is generally an age at which the permanent first molars and incisor teeth can be evaluated for alignment and available space. At this early age, orthodontic treatment may not be necessary, but vigilant examination can anticipate the most advantageous time to begin treatment. Although orthodontic treatment is usually associated with adolescence, an early evaluation allows the orthodontist to determine when a child's particular problem should be treated. In many patients, early treatment achieves results that are not possible once the face and jaws have finished growing. Another advantage is that early intervention frequently makes the completion of treatment at a later age easier and shorter.

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 serious problems later. When orthodontic intervention is not necessary, an orthodontist can carefully monitor growth and development and begin treatment when it is ideal.

Why is age 7 considered the optimal time for screening?

By the age of 7 the first adult molars erupt, establishing the back bite. During this time, an orthodontist can evaluate front-to-back and side-to-side tooth relationships. The permanent incisor teeth also erupt around this time. The position of the erupting incisors can indicate the presence or predict the development of overbite, open bite, cross bite, crowding, or gummy smile discrepancies. 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 and erupting teeth; 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 tooth removal; and reducing treatment time with braces.

Why should malocclusions be treated?

According to studies by the American Association of Orthodontists (AAO), 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. Cross bites can result in unfavorable growth and uneven tooth wear. Open bites can result in tongue-thrusting habits and speech impediments. Ultimately, orthodontics does more than make a pretty smile – it creates a healthier you.