Early orthodontic treatment for children
The American Association of Orthodontists recommends that children see an orthodontist as early as age seven. At age seven, Drs. Fasy and Brown can evaluate whether your child will need a phase of early orthodontic treatment.
Early treatment or Phase One typically begins around age eight or nine. Phase Two will begin around age 11 or older. Many patients do not require Phase One treatment but if indicated, timing is important. The goal of early treatment is to correct the growth of the jaw and certain bite problems, such as a crossbite or underbite. Early treatment can also help make room for permanent teeth, lessening the chance of extractions 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, and will have all the permanent teeth around age 13)
- Difficulty chewing and biting
- Mouth breathing
- A thumb sucking habit after age five
- Protruding teeth (the top teeth extend in front of the bottom teeth)
- Crowded front teeth around age seven or eight
- Teeth that do not come together in a normal manner
- Speech impediments
What causes orthodontic problems, and how will early prevention benefit my child?
Orthodontic problems can have many causes. They can be inherited or caused by injury to the mouth, early or late loss of baby teeth, or thumb-sucking habits.
Most children lose all their baby teeth by age 13. By the end of their teen years, the jaw bones will harden and stop growing. Orthodontic procedures for adults often take more time and can involve tooth extraction or oral surgery. Receiving orthodontic treatment as a child can help prevent the need for extractions or 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 our office to schedule a consultation. We will perform an initial exam and discuss the best steps to take toward caring for your child's smile.