Early Orthodontic Treatment
Early Orthodontic Treatment for Children
Every child should see an orthodontist right around their seventh birthday. But not every child needs early orthodontic treatment. The purpose of the appointment, once they are seven, is to ensure that no severe problems are present. If they are, early treatment can help the orthodontist correct these issues without needing to rely on surgery or tooth extraction later in life.
Understanding Early Treatment
The goal of early treatment is to use the significant bone growth young children experience to make it easier to guide the jaws and the placement of teeth. It usually starts around the age of nine and is done in phases:
- Phase One: Appliances are used to guide jaw growth and make room for permanent teeth to erupt.
- Resting Phase: The appliances are removed and the teeth are allowed to continue coming in.
- Phase Two: Appliances are used once again to perfect the bite now that all permanent teeth are in place.
- Retention Phase: Retainers are used to keep the teeth in their ideal position.
Knowing If Early Treatment Is Needed
Parents cannot determine if their child needs early treatment. Sometimes problems look significant when they are actually easy to treat. Other times, everything can look great to the untrained eye when in reality, something is very wrong. No one should ever attempt to diagnose the orthodontic needs of a child unless that person has orthodontic training.
What Causes Orthodontic Problems to Develop?
There are a variety of factors that can contribute to the development of orthodontic abnormalities. Habits such as thumb sucking, using pacifiers, or taking a bottle for too long can alter the way the teeth come in. Injuries and bone disorders can also impact the position of the teeth and jaw. However, in many cases, orthodontic problems are just the luck of the draw.
If your child is seven or older and has not seen an orthodontist yet, now is the time. Schedule your appointment today.