There are some patients that can benefit from early interceptive treatment. We recommend that you bring your child in for their first appointment by age 7. This is the age when the first set of molars and incisors erupt, and orthodontists are able to identify a majority of problems during that time. It is important to understand that early examination does not always lead to early treatment. Dr. Shawn and Dr. Candice will determine the optimal time to begin treatment.
What Does Early Treatment Do?
Early treatment is effective because it addresses orthodontic issues while the jawbone is still developing. Early treatment is preventive, rather than reactive. Potential results of early treatment include:
- Guiding healthy jawbone development
- Creating ample space for adult teeth to emerge
- Correcting protruding teeth (buck teeth) that are susceptible to injury
- Treating improper bite (e.g. overbite, underbite and crossbite)
- Eliminating poor habits, such as thumb sucking and tongue thrusting
Certain oral health issues become more difficult to treat once your jaws have fully developed. Early treatment isn’t always the end-all-be-all solution, but it can mitigate the development of a more severe condition in the future.
Does My Child Need Early Treatment?
While every child and every smile it different, there are certain developmental milestones that indicate good oral health. If you notice any of the following abnormal patterns of growth or behaviors, you should consult with your orthodontist.
- Prolonged thumb sucking
- Abnormal closure of the front teeth
- Excessive cheek biting
- Teeth grinding or clenching
- Difficulty chewing
- Breathing through the mouth
- Misplaced or crooked teeth
- Late or early teeth loss
Regardless of the presence of noticeable symptoms, you should bring your child in for their first examination by the age of 7. Our doctors will be able to determine if there are any underlying conditions that should be addressed.
Problems to Look for in Young Children
There are some problems that should be addresses early, when the child has a mix of baby teeth and permanent teeth. The photo below illustrates some situations where early treatment may be necessary. Dr. Shawn and Dr. Candice will complete a thorough exam and discuss your treatment options at your initial visit. Please contact us to schedule your free consultation.