Early Orthodontic Treatment
Misaligned teeth are not only cosmetically unappealing; they can lead to other problems that can harm oral and overall health. Early orthodontic treatment is sometimes recommended to correct these problems before they get worse.
For young patients, early orthodontic treatment can begin around the age of six or seven, when the child still has most of their baby teeth. This is done to prevent future complications from developing with adult teeth. Your child may undergo initial treatments like spacers to make room for the adult molars to come in properly or receive an appliance to keep certain teeth from moving out of place while they grow.
Early orthodontic treatment is recommended when certain dental or skeletal issues are detected during a child's development.
Common Reasons for Early Orthodontic Treatment
Early orthodontic treatment can be recommended when there is insufficient space in the dental arch to properly accommodate the permanent teeth. By creating space or guiding the eruption of permanent teeth, early orthodontic treatment can help prevent more extensive orthodontic procedures later on.
If a child has an improper bite alignment, such as an overbite, underbite, or crossbite, early intervention can help guide the growth of the jaws and improve the bite relationship. Addressing these issues early on can promote proper function and reduce the risk of potential complications.
Harmful Oral Habits
Habits like thumb sucking, tongue thrusting, or prolonged pacifier use can impact the development of the teeth and jaws. Early orthodontic treatment can help correct these habits and minimize their effects on dental alignment and skeletal development.
The Benefits of Early Orthodontic Treatment
Most orthodontists agree that the ideal time to bring a child in for an orthodontic screening is around age seven. At this age, the orthodontist can evaluate their jaw growth patterns and bite alignment to determine if early intervention is needed. While it is possible to treat malocclusion at any age, early orthodontic treatment provides several unique benefits that can last a lifetime.
First, it is much easier to move teeth and correct jaw misalignment while the child is growing and developing rather than waiting for them to finish their growth stage. This saves time and money in the long run compared to waiting until all permanent teeth are present before beginning treatment.
Second, while the jawbones of children are still developing, it is easier to reshape and align them. The bones and tissues are more flexible at this age than they will be once the patient becomes an adult.
Third, getting treatment at a young age can help with self-esteem issues. Addressing misaligned or crowded teeth early in life makes it much easier for children to embrace orthodontic treatment than later in their adolescence. Furthermore, it can help prevent the need for serious orthodontic interventions later in life.
In addition to improved oral health and appearance, there are several other advantages to getting orthodontic treatment early in life. For the best dental care tailored to your children's needs, visit Smile 4 Less Orthodontics at any of our three locations in El Paso, TX, or call (915) 304-3090.