Early Orthodontic Treatment for Children
How is an early orthodontic treatment different from a regular orthodontic treatment? Will your child need to undergo early treatment? How will it benefit them later on?
These are the common questions parents ask about early orthodontic treatment. Thus, the American Association of Orthodontists suggests that children should have their first orthodontist visit at the age of seven. The orthodontist will help parents address their child’s need for orthodontic treatment.
Early treatment or Phase One, typically begins around age eight or nine, and Phase Two starts at age around 11 or older. Early treatment is mainly to correct the growth of the jaw and certain bite problems, such as underbite. It also helps the permanent teeth to grow in the right position to avoid the possibility of extractions later on.
Signs that your child may need early orthodontic treatment:
- Early or late loss of baby teeth (your child should typically start losing teeth around age five and will have all permanent teeth at around age 13)
- Difficulty chewing and/or biting
- Mouth breathing
- Doesn’t stop sucking his or her thumb after age five
- Speech impediments
- Protruding teeth (the top teeth and the bottom teeth extend away from each other)
- 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)
- Crowded front teeth around age seven or eight
How do orthodontic problems occur, and how does early prevention help your child?
The common orthodontic problems are crowding of the teeth, too much space between the teeth, jaw growth abnormalities, protruding teeth, bad bites (can be inherited or caused by a mouth injury), early or late loss of baby teeth, and thumb-sucking habits.
Usually, children lose all their baby teeth by age 13. Then, the jawbones stop growing during their late teen years. Orthodontic procedures for adults mostly involve tooth extraction or oral surgery, which really takes a lot of time. Thus, early orthodontic treatment is highly recommended to prevent such extensive procedures in the future.
When your seven or eight- year-old kid shows signs that they need early orthodontic care or your family dentist suggests an orthodontic visit, you can contact us to schedule an appointment. We will have your child undergo an initial exam first, then we will discuss primary steps to address the dental problems.