What is the difference between early orthodontic treatment and regular orthodontic treatment, and why might my child need early treatment? How will early treatment benefit my child in the long run?
Early treatment is also known as Phase One typically begins around age eight or nine. Phase Two will begin once the second permanent molars are erupted around age 11 or older or in a small number of cases where growth is a concern when growth is complete. The goal of early treatment is to correct the growth of the jaw and certain bite problems, such as crossbite which need to be corrected early. Early treatment also helps to make room for permanent teeth to come in properly, 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 permanent teeth around age 13)
- Difficulty chewing and/or biting
- Mouth breathing
- Your child continues sucking his or her thumb after age five
- Speech impediments
- Protruding teeth (the top teeth and the bottom teeth extend away from each other)
- Teeth that don't come together in a normal manner or even at all
- Shifting of the jaw when your child opens or closes his or her mouth (crossbites)
- Crowded front teeth around age seven or eight
What causes orthodontic problems, and how will early prevention benefit my child?
Orthodontic problems such as crowding of the teeth, too much space between the teeth, jaw growth problems, protruding teeth, and bad bites 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, and 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 early orthodontic treatment as a child can help prevent the need for orthodontics as an adult, and reduce the chance of permanent tooth extractions or surgery in the future.
Once your child reaches seven years of age; whether they show signs of needing orthodontic care, you have been directed by your family dentist to visit the orthodontist, or you would like an initial screening evaluation per the recommendation of the American Association of Orthodontists, please contact us and schedule an appointment. Dr. Zaidi will provide your child with an initial exam, and discuss with you the best steps to take toward caring for your child's smile.