By age 7, most children have a mix of adult and baby teeth. Orthodontists can spot subtle problems with emerging teeth and jaw growth while some baby teeth are still present. That’s important, because some orthodontic problems are best to correct earlier than later.
For these reasons, the American Association of Orthodontists recommends that children see an orthodontist for a screening exam around age seven or eight. That doesn’t mean that every seven or eight year old needs braces as only a small percent do. If your child doesn’t need any early treatment, then at least you have that peace of mind. Even if a problem is detected, Dr. Williams may not recommend immediate treatment. He may take a “wait and see” approach and just monitor your child’s dental development periodically.
If needed, early treatment (also known as Phase One) typically begins around age eight or nine and typically lasts around one year. The goal of early treatment is to correct certain issues such as severe crowding, certain bite problems, and jaw growth imbalances. Early treatment can prevent more serious problems from developing and helps to make room for permanent teeth to come in properly, lessening the chance of extractions in the future.
Early treatment can benefit your child by intercepting the developing problem, eliminating the cause, guiding the growth of the jaw bones, and providing adequate space for incoming permanent teeth. Early treatment now can give your child a better outcome for the future.
Early orthodontic treatment could involve options that range from an expander, partial braces, rubber bands, or other appliances to guide the growth of the jaws and teeth. A more recent option now includes Invisalign First.
If your child is between the ages of seven and eight and shows signs of needing orthodontic care, or if you have been directed by your family dentist to visit the orthodontist, just call us to schedule a free consultation. Dr. Williams would be happy to evaluate your child’s teeth and bite to determine if any early treatment is needed.