Early Orthodontic Treatment
The goal of early orthodontic treatment is to prevent serious orthodontic problems from occurring by eliminating the underlying cause and guiding the teeth, jaw, and facial bones as they develop. Also known as interceptive orthodontics, this is a more effective form of treatment than simply waiting for problems to occur and then treating them.
Your Child’s First Orthodontic Appointment
The American Association of Orthodontists recommends that all children see an orthodontist by the age of 7. By this time, most children have enough permanent teeth to allow us to evaluate both the teeth and the jaws, which helps us identify subtle problems that may become more serious without treatment.
Not all children need orthodontic treatment at this young age—in many cases, treatment is either unnecessary or we may determine that it could be needed in the future, in which case we will schedule periodic follow-up appointments to monitor facial and jawbone development. Other times, your child might need to begin early orthodontic treatment.
Orthodontic Issues That Respond to Early Treatment
It’s important to note that early orthodontic treatment doesn’t necessarily eliminate the need for braces in the adolescent years, but it can reduce the amount of time in braces. Early treatment aims to correct jaw issues and ensure that there is sufficient space for permanent teeth to erupt. We use early orthodontics to treat:
- Gaps between teeth
- Extra teeth
- Missing teeth
- Open bites
- Oral habits, including thumb-, finger-, and pacifier-sucking, that are impacting your child’s teeth or jaw development
We have several different options to treat these issues, including habit appliances, space maintainers, tooth extractions, palate expanders, and other orthodontic appliances.
Frequently Asked Questions About Early Orthodontic Treatment
Is early orthodontic treatment necessary?
It’s up to you as a parent whether you want to pursue early orthodontic treatment for your child. If you choose not to, the orthodontic issues we identify will likely need to be treated when your child is older and at this time, they may be more difficult to resolve.
What is the best age to start orthodontic treatment?
Although the American Association of Orthodontists recommends that children receive an evaluation from an orthodontist by the age of 7, there’s no set time for orthodontic treatment to start. Instead, it depends on the unique needs of your child.
What happens at the first orthodontic appointment?
During the first orthodontic appointment, we look closely at your child’s teeth and jaw, observing how they come together when they bite. We may take photos and digital radiographs, if needed. We’ll answer your questions and, if we determine treatment is needed, provide you with information about the orthodontic issues we see and how we can correct them.
Call 469-598-1700 to schedule your appointment.