Early Orthodontic Treatment for Children
What is the difference between early orthodontic treatment and regular orthodontic treatment, and why might my child need early treatment? How will early treatment benefit my child in the long run?
These are just a few of the questions surrounding the topic of early orthodontic treatment for children. The American Association of Orthodontists recommends that kids see an orthodontist as early as age seven or eight. At this point, Dr. Kuhn will evaluate whether your son or daughter will need orthodontic treatment and when.
Early treatment (also known as Phase One) typically begins around age seven to nine. Phase Two will begin around age 11 or older. The goal of early treatment is to help correct the growth of the jaw and certain bite problems which may be severe in nature. Early treatment can also help to make room for permanent teeth that appear in the future.
How to tell if your child may need early orthodontic treatment
- Early or late loss of baby teeth (your child should typically start losing teeth around age five or six)
- Difficulty chewing and/or biting
- Mouth breathing
- Your youngster continues to suck 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 little one opens or closes his or her mouth (crossbites)
- Crowded front teeth around age seven or eight
What causes orthodontic problems, and how will early treatment benefit my child?
Orthodontic problems such as crowding of the teeth, too much space between them, jaw growth problems, protruding teeth, and bad bites can be inherited or caused by injury to the mouth, early or late loss of baby teeth, or other growth-modifying habits.
Most children lose all their baby teeth by age 13 to 15. By the end of their teen years, the jaw bones will harden and stop growing. Orthodontic procedures for adults usually take more time and can more often entail tooth extraction or oral surgery. Receiving early orthodontic treatment as a child can sometimes help prevent or reduce the need for orthodontics as an adult.
If your child is between the ages of seven and eight and shows signs of needing orthodontic care, or you have been directed by your family dentist to visit the orthodontist, please contact Madison Orthodontic Centers and schedule an appointment. Dr. Kuhn will provide your child with an initial exam, and discuss with you the best steps to take toward caring for your youngster’s smile.