Many parents assume that seeing the orthodontist is something that should wait until a child is in their teen years, but in fact that might just be waiting too long. A children's orthodontist performs orthodontic observation from as early as age six or seven. The orthodontic observation process consists of oral exams and X-rays that can identify potential issues even before all of the adult teeth erupt. Seeing a children's orthodontist at an early age doesn't necessarily mean early braces—it simply means that your child can be on track for optimal bite correction as soon as problems occur, or even before they occur. Read on to learn more about early orthodontic treatment.
The Benefits of Starting Orthodontic Treatment Early
There are many benefits connected to starting treatment through orthodontic observation at a young age. Your child can avoid the following problems through early orthodontic treatment.
- A "crowded mouth"
- Common bite problems like underbite and overbite
- Jaw damage from improperly aligned teeth
- Severe pain from badly aligned teeth
When your childrens orthodontist does orthodontic observation for your child, they will create a treatment plan based on how the adult teeth are emerging and how they're projected to emerge in the future. In some cases, a device like a palate expander can be used to correct alignment problems even before they occur -- and this may even help your child avoid braces or other more complex treatment later.
If the adult teeth grow in the projected way—and if that growth is causing issues—the orthodontic treatment can begin straight away. This usually occurs at ages 10 to 13, based on whenever the adult teeth have fully erupted.
Why Early Treatment is More Effective
Early orthodontic treatment is much more effective than the very same treatment later in life. During the pre-teen and early teen years, your child's jaw isn't yet fully formed. Because it's still growing, the bone responds to treatment much better. An adult who undergoes orthodontic treatment typically has to wear braces or other corrective devices for longer because it's so much harder to shift their jaw into the optimal position. The earlier that the treatment can occur, the more likely it is that your child can have an optimal orthodontic correction.
If your child is starting to lose their baby teeth, it may be the ideal time to visit a childrens orthodontist. In just one visit to the orthodontist, you can get an idea of what to expect in your child's orthodontic future. Call an orthodontist today to arrange a visit.