- What age should my child have an orthodontic evaluation?
- Why is it important to have orthodontic treatment at a young age?
At our practice, we provide orthodontic care for children and adults. We believe that everyone deserves a healthy and a beautiful smile, regardless of their age. Feel free to contact us to schedule a complimentary orthodontic consult for yourself and the family – we are here to help you smile bigger!
Orthodontic Care for Children
What age should my child have an orthodontic evaluation?
The American Association of Orthodontists (AAO) recommends an orthodontic screening for children by the age of 7 years. At age 7 the teeth and jaws are developed enough to evaluate if there will be any serious bite problems in the future. Most of the time treatment is not necessary at age 7, but it gives the parents and us time to watch the development of the patient and decide on the best mode of treatment. When you have time on your side, you can plan ahead and prevent the formation of serious problems.
Reasons to consider early treatment:
Facial Development - 75% of 12-year-olds need orthodontic treatment. Yet by age 12, 90% of a child's face has already developed. By guiding facial development through the use of functional appliances, 80% of the issues can be corrected before adult teeth are present.
Shorter Treatment Time - Early Phase One treatment can reduce the total time spent in fixed braces.
Correcting Underdeveloped or Overdeveloped Jaws - Nearly 55% of children needing orthodontic treatment due to a bad bite have underdeveloped or overdeveloped jaws. Functional appliances and/or limited braces can reposition the jaws, improving the child's profile and correcting the bite problem within 7 to 9 months.
Why is it important to have orthodontic treatment at a young age?
Research has shown that serious orthodontic problems can be more easily corrected when the patient’s skeleton is still growing and flexible. We can prepare the mouth for the eventual eruption of the permanent teeth by correcting the skeletal problems at a younger age. If the permanent teeth have adequate space to erupt they will come in fairly straight. If the teeth erupt fairly straight, their tendency to get crooked again after the braces come off is diminished significantly. After the permanent teeth have erupted, usually from age 12-14, complete braces are placed for final alignment and detailing of the bite. Thus, the final stage of treatment is quicker and easier on the patient. The last phase of treatment usually lasts from 12-18 months and is not started until all of the permanent teeth are erupted.
Early treatment can prevent:
- Poor habits such as tongue thrusting and thumb sucking.
- A constricted airway due to swollen adenoids or tonsils.
- Mouth breathing or snoring problems.
- A bad, or misaligned bite.
- Bone problems like narrow or underdeveloped jaws.
- Abnormal teeth spacing from missing teeth.
Doing orthodontic treatments in two steps provides excellent results, often allowing the doctor to avoid removal of permanent teeth and jaw surgery.
Phase-1 treatment is conducted when some of the baby teeth are still present is called. It stars with Functional (Growth) Appliances and/or Limited Braces around ages 5-12.
In the first phase, we are interested in the position and symmetry of the jaws, future growth, spacing of the teeth, breathing and other oral habits which may result in abnormal dentofacial development if left untreated.
Treatment during this phase of development is often very successful and can sometimes eliminate the need for future orthodontic treatment.
Phase-2 treatment occurs after all of the permanent teeth have erupted around ages 12 to 14.
In the second phase, we will be looking at how your child’s teeth and jaws fit and function together. Your child’s teeth will be straightened and their occlusion (bite) will be properly aligned. Attention will be given to the jaw joint (TMJ), the facial profile and periodontal (gum) tissues. By undergoing treatment in the first phase, we can usually reduce the amount of time needed for braces.
Call us today to schedule a COMPLIMENTARY orthodontic consultation for your children!
Orthodontic Frequently Asked Questions
What causes crooked teeth?
Crowded teeth, thumb sucking, tongue thrusting, premature loss of baby teeth, and a poor breathing airway can all contribute to poor tooth positioning. Hereditary factors such as extra teeth, large teeth, missing teeth, wide spacing and small jaws - all can be causes of crowded teeth.
How do teeth move?
Tooth movement is a natural response to light pressure over a period of time. Pressure is applied by using a variety of orthodontic appliances. The most common orthodontic hardwear are braces or brackets attached to the teeth and connected by an arch wire. Periodically changing these arch wires puts pressure on the teeth. At different stages of treatment your child may wear headgear, elastics, a positioner or a retainer. Most orthodontic appointments are scheduled 4 to 6 weeks apart to give the teeth time to move.
Will it hurt?
Discomfort may result when teeth are first moved. This usually lasts about 24 to 72 hours. Patients report a lessening of pain as the treatment progresses. Pain medicines such as acetaminophen (Tylenol) or ibuprofen (Advil) usually help relieve the pain.
If you have any questions regarding orthodontic treatment for you and/or your child, please contact us and we will be happy to provide you with a complimentary consultation!