The American Association for Orthodontists recommends that every child have an orthodontic evaluation by the age of 7. Early detection and treatment gives your child the edge: a much better chance for natural and normal development. By working with the natural growth instead of against it, we can prevent problems from becoming worse, and give your child a lifetime of healthy smiles! Early treatment should be initiated for:
- Habits such as tongue thrusting and thumb sucking
- A constricted airway due to swollen adenoids or tonsils
- Mouth breathing or snoring problems
- A bad bite
- Bone problems (i.e. narrow or underdeveloped jaws)
- Space maintenance (for missing teeth)
Functional (Growth) Appliances and/or Limited Braces – Ages 5-12
In the first phase, the doctor is interested in the position and symmetry of the jaws, future growth, spacing of the teeth, breathing and other oral habits which may, over a period of time, result in abnormal dentofacial development.
Treatment initiated in this phase of development is often very successful and some times, though not always, can eliminate the need for future orthodontic treatment.
Braces – Ages 12 to 14
In the second phase, the doctor will be looking at how your child’s teeth and jaws fit, and more specifically work, together. Your child’s teeth will be straightened and their occlusion (bite) is properly aligned. Attention will be given to the jaw joint, (TMJ), the facial profile and periodontal (gum) tissues. By undergoing the first phase, we can usually reduce the amount of time needed for braces.
Facts: Early Treatment Is Important to Consider!
Facial Development – Seventy-five percent of 12-year-olds need orthodontic treatment. Yet 90% of a child’s face has already developed! By guiding facial development earlier, through the use of functional appliances, 80% of the treatment can be corrected before the adult teeth are present!
Cooperation – Younger children between the ages of 8 and 11 are often much more cooperative than children of ages 12 to 14.
Shorter Treatment Time – Another advantage of early Phase One treatment is that children will need to wear fixed braces on their adult teeth for less time.
To Correct Underdeveloped or Overdeveloped Jaws – Almost 55% of children who need orthodontic treatment due to a bad bite have underdeveloped or overdeveloped upper or lower jaws. Functional appliances and/or limited braces can reposition the jaws, improving the child’s profile and correcting the bite problem – within 7 to 9 months!