Orthodontics for Children and Adolescents
The art of enhancing smile aesthetics (orthodontic treatment) can occur at virtually any age, however the American Association of Orthodontists recommends that children no later than age 7 be evaluated by an orthodontist. Most children evaluated at this age will not require orthodontic treatment, but a comprehensive examination may bring to light future issues that will need to be addressed. Anticipating potential problems and planning in advance will ensure the most ideal result with the least amount of expense and discomfort to the patient.
Why does the American Association of Orthodontics recommend patients to be evaluated by age 7?
Age 7, for most children, is a time of transition for many of the teeth in the mouth. The most notable change occurs in the front of the mouth when the 4 baby incisors on the bottom and the top jaws are lost, and the adult teeth begin to grow into their place. This is a critical period for evaluation because during this time many issues may arise that can negatively affect the smile and proper bite of a child.
What are some of the advantages of Early Treatment? (Interceptive Orthodontics / Phase 1 Treatment)?
- Correcting Skeletal misalignments early may prevent future asymetric growth
- Reducing the protrusion of some teeth may significantly reduce the risk of tooth trauma.
- Creating space for the adult teeth may reduce the need for future adult extraction(s)
- Correcting cross-bites can not only reduce the risk of tooth trauma, but also correct asymmetric growth patterns.
- A two phase approach tends to reduce the time a patient is wearing braces.
Do I need a comprehensive referral from a Dentist in order to have a comprehensive examination?
The answer is simply no. At Maitland Orthodontic Specialists, we regularly see patients who have not been referred by their dentist.
What are some of the advantages of Interceptive Treatment?
Some of the most direct results of interceptive treatment are:
- Creating room for crowded, erupting teeth
- Creating facial symmetry through influencing jaw growth
- Reducing the risk of trauma to protruding front teeth
- Preserving space for teeth that have not erupted yet.
- Reducing the need for tooth removal
- Reducing treatment time with braces
Here are a few things to look for that may require your child to see an orthodontist:
- Early or late loss of baby teeth
- A hard time chewing or biting food
- Mouth breathing
- Finger or thumb sucking
- Crowded, misplaced, or blocked teeth
- Jaws that pop or make sounds when opening and closing
- Teeth that come together abnormally, or do not come together at all.
- Crowded front teeth around age 7 or 8