Early Interceptive Treatment
When is the best time to begin orthodontics?
Though an orthodontist can enhance a smile at any age, the American Association of Orthodontists recommends that children get their first orthodontic check-up no later than age 7.
What are the benefits of early orthodontic evaluation?
While treatment may not be required at age 7, these early evaluations can detect problems early, offering more opportunity for effective treatment and preventing more serious problems — and more expense — later. 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. For example, the presence of erupting incisors can indicate possible overbite, open bite, crowding or gummy smiles. Timely screening increases the chances for an incredible smile.
What are the advantages of early interceptive treatment?
Some of the most direct results of early interceptive treatment are:
- Creating room for crowded, erupting teeth.
- Creating facial symmetry by influencing jaw growth.
- Reducing the risk of trauma to protruding front teeth.
- Preserving space for unerupted teeth.
- Reducing the need for tooth removal.
- Reducing treatment time with braces.
What are some of the early signs of potential future orthodontic concerns?
Early identification is critical in the timing of treatment and parent education. Here are a few early signs that can help you to determine if the time is right to schedule an orthodontic consultation for your child. These include issues with bite, crowding, spacing and protrusion.
Lower teeth sit in front of upper teeth when back teeth are closed
Front teeth protrude, or stick out.
A crossbite affecting the front teeth where one or more top teeth sit behind the bottom teeth.
A crossbite affecting the back teeth where the upper teeth sit inside the bottom teeth.
Front teeth do not meet when back teeth are closed.
Upper front teeth significantly overlap bottom teeth.
Teeth are rotated or displaced because of lack of space.
Visible gaps between teeth due to excess space.
Why should malocclusions be treated?
Malocclusions, such as those described above, occur as a result of tooth or jaw misalignment. Malocclusions affect the way you smile, chew, clean your teeth or feel about your smile. According to studies by the American Association of Orthodontists, 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.
- Crossbites can result in unfavorable growth and uneven tooth wear.
- Openbites can result in tongue-thrusting habits and speech impediments.
- Ultimately, orthodontics does more than make a pretty smile—it creates a healthier you.