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The Importance of Early Orthodontic Treatment

by Youth Dental

The Importance of Early Orthodontic Treatment

Reviewed By Dr. Jodi Kuhn

Reading time: 5 minutes

As a parent, ensuring your child has a healthy and beautiful smile is a priority. One vital component of maintaining good oral health is receiving timely and appropriate orthodontic care, specifically early orthodontic treatment.

In this blog post, we’ll discuss the advantages of taking your child to the orthodontist before the age of 7 to maximize the benefits of early orthodontic treatment and why the American Association of Orthodontists (AAO) recommends this approach.

What is Early Orthodontic Treatment?

Early orthodontic treatment, or interceptive treatment, refers to orthodontic intervention performed while some baby teeth are still present in a child’s mouth. This type of treatment aims to intercept the developing problem, eliminate the cause, guide the growth of facial and jaw bones, and provide incoming space for adult teeth.

Key Takeaway

Early orthodontic treatment can help identify and address dental problems in children, potentially saving time and costs in the future. Hampden Youth Dentistry and Orthodontics specializes in such preventative care, ensuring a healthier and brighter smile for your child.

AAO Recommendations on Early Orthodontics

The American Association of Orthodontists recommends that your child’s first check-up with an orthodontist be performed when an orthodontic problem is first recognized, but no later than age 7.

By this age, your child has enough permanent teeth for an orthodontist to evaluate the developing teeth, jaws, and oral habits, which can provide valuable information for addressing potential issues.

Orthodontists are trained to spot subtle problems even in young children, allowing them to intervene early and prevent more significant issues from developing in the future.

Benefits of Early Orthodontic Treatment

Early orthodontic treatment can help address a wide range of problems, including:

  • Underbites: This occurs when the lower teeth protrude beyond the upper teeth, causing misalignment of the jaw.
  • Crossbites: In a crossbite, the upper teeth are positioned inside the lower teeth when biting down, leading to an improper alignment of the dental arches.
  • Very crowded teeth: When there is insufficient space in the dental arch to accommodate all the teeth, crowding occurs, causing overlapping or rotated teeth.
  • Extra or missing teeth: This refers to the presence of additional teeth (supernumerary teeth) or the absence of certain teeth (hypodontia) in the dental arch.
  • Teeth with big gaps: When there are gaps or spaces between teeth, it is known as excessively spaced teeth or diastema.
  • Teeth that meet abnormally or don’t meet at all: This refers to the misalignment of the upper and lower teeth, resulting in an abnormal bite or a lack of proper contact between the teeth.
  • Pacifier use or finger or thumb sucking: Prolonged thumb, finger, or pacifier sucking habits can cause misalignment of the teeth and improper growth of the jaws.

By identifying and treating these issues early, your child will have a greater chance of a healthy smile, improved facial symmetry, and potentially reduced treatment time and cost in the future.

Treatment Options for Early Orthodontics

If necessary, the first phase of treatment generally starts around the age of eight or nine and typically lasts for about a year. The primary objective of early treatment is to address specific issues like severe crowding, certain bite problems, and imbalances in jaw growth. Early treatment prevents more serious problems from developing as permanent teeth come in.

There are various treatment options for early orthodontics; the type used will depend on the child’s specific needs. These may include:

  • Palatal expander: A dental appliance used to widen the upper jaw, creating more space for proper alignment of teeth.
  • Tooth extraction: If there is severe overcrowding, removing a few teeth may be necessary to allow the rest of the teeth to align correctly. If some baby teeth are still present, removal of some of them may be necessary to help the permanent teeth erupt.
  • Partial braces: Orthodontic treatment that involves applying braces to only a specific section of teeth, rather than the entire mouth.

The AAO says: “Regardless of how treatment goals are reached, the bottom line is that some orthodontic problems may be easier to correct if they are found and treated early.

Choose Hampden Youth Dentistry and Orthodontics

If you’re concerned about your child’s dental health or have questions about early orthodontic treatment, the team at Hampden Youth Dentistry and Orthodontics is here to help.

Schedule a dental check-up and cleaning for your child, and our skilled professionals will evaluate whether an orthodontic evaluation is necessary and recommend the best course of action for your child’s oral health.

Don’t wait to secure a beautiful, healthy smile for your child. Contact Hampden Youth Dentistry and Orthodontics today to schedule an appointment and take the first step toward improved dental health and a brighter future for your child.

If you are searching for a dentist in Hampden, or ‘the best orthodontist near me,’ we can help. To book an appointment at Hampden Youth Dentistry and Orthodontics, call (303) 953-8801 or complete the online booking form.

FAQs About Early Orthodontic Treatment

What age should a child first visit the orthodontist?

The American Association of Orthodontists recommends that children have their first orthodontic evaluation by age 7, or earlier if a dental issue is recognized. This allows for early identification and intervention of any potential problems.

What are some signs that my child may need early orthodontic treatment?

Signs that your child may need early orthodontic treatment include crowded or misaligned teeth, difficulty chewing or biting, and thumb-sucking habits.

Is it necessary for my child to have braces at an early age?

Not all children will require braces at an early age. However, if an orthodontic issue is identified, early intervention can help prevent more significant problems from developing in the future and may reduce treatment time and cost down the road.

How long does early orthodontic treatment typically last?

The treatment duration can vary, but it usually lasts about a year. However, this may differ depending on the severity of the issue and the chosen course treatment plan for your child.

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