Every Child Should Have an Orthodontic Evaluation
as part of their routine examination
The sooner orthodontic problems are detected, the faster and less difficult the treatment can be. Early orthodontic treatment (Phase I treatment) usually starts around the age of 8 or 9. At this age, the main goal of treatment is to direct jaw growth and some of the bite problems, if they exist. Early treatment could make space for permanent teeth to erupt properly, thereby preventing the need to extract permanent teeth later. Second phase normally occurs around the age of 11 or older, if needed. Interceptive treatment can begin as early as age 3, if needed, to prevent the development of orthodontic problems.
Signs Your Child Needs Early Orthodontic Treatment
- Very late or very early tooth loss. The first tooth should fall out around the age of 6 and by the age of 13, your child should have all of his or her permanent teeth.
- Difficulty chewing
- Mouth breathing
- Thumb sucking after age 5
- Tongue thrust
- Teeth protrusion (when the top teeth stick out forward from the bottom teeth—often called an “overbite” by people)
- Teeth don’t fit together in a normal way
- Jaw shifting
- Crowded or crooked teeth
- Open bite (when the top and bottom teeth don’t overlap) or deep bite (when the top teeth overlap the bottom teeth so much that the bottom teeth are barely seen)
Causes of Orthodontic Problems
Spaced or crowded teeth, incorrect jaw growth, protrusive teeth, and irregular bites can be inherited from the parents or caused by:
- Injuries and traumas
- Late or early tooth loss
- Long-term or vigorous thumb sucking, finger habits, or pacifier use
- Tongue thrusting
- Nail biting
- Chronic mouth breathing
Benefits of Early Prevention
The benefits of early treatment will usually prevent the need for permanent tooth extraction and jaw surgery. In extreme cases, permanent tooth extraction and jaw surgery may still be necessary, but the chances are lessened with early orthodontic treatment
In our office, orthodontic screening is done at every check-up. Based on our determination, early treatment will be recommended when needed and the rationale will be provided in detail, thereby preventing the need for more extensive treatment at a later age.
Benefits of Early Orthodontic Treatment
Children who receive orthodontic treatment have an opportunity to improve proper jaw growth, control the width of the dental arches, guide permanent teeth to erupt in desirable positions, and lessen the chances of injuries and traumas of protruded front teeth. Orthodontic treatment may increase your child’s self-esteem and can improve the appearance of his or her smile. Early orthodontic treatment can help relieve the tendency for some impacted teeth and simplify or even shorten the later orthodontic treatment, when it would be necessary.
Please call Orange County Pediatric Dental Group to schedule your child’s appointment. After evaluating your child, our doctors will discuss treatment options and recommend the treatment that is most appropriate, including alternative treatments, if available. These will be based on your child’s unique needs. Appointments can be made by calling: (714) 972-1359.