Early Treatment

The American association of Orthodontics recommends that all children receive an orthodontic check up by the age of 7 years old. At this time, children have developed their first permanent molars and their anterior teeth have erupted. An orthodontist can identify any orthodontic issues that may be developing and treat them as needed. If there are no issues, the orthodontist can monitor the growth/development of the teeth and jaws.

Issues that the orthodontist will look for include:

  • • Overbite
  • • Openbite
  • • Crossbites
  • • Crowded areas
  • • Excessive spacing
  • • Tongue Thrusts
  • • Mouth Breathing
  • • Thumb or Finger sucking habits
  • • Speech Issues
  • • Jaw Pain/Noises
  • • Cheek Biting

If early treatment is needed, the benefits can be significant:
• Directing Jaw growth and development
• Maintaining space for permanent teeth
• Guiding permanent teeth into better positions
• Avoiding extractions of permanent teeth
• Avoiding impaction of permanent teeth
• Improving arch widths
• Reducing/eliminating the need for jaw surgeries

Early treatment outcomes can be dramatic and significant. It is important to understand that early treatment is done for very limited objectives. At a later date, an orthodontist will re-evaluate the mouth when all permanent teeth are present. At that point, complete orthodontic treatment may or may not be necessary. It is important to discuss with an orthodontist early treatment options, objectives and possible outcomes.