Many common orthodontic problems are easier to correct before jaw growth has slowed, so it’s good practice for children to have a check-up with our orthodontist no later than age 7, when enough permanent teeth have erupted to permit an evaluation of relationships developing between the teeth, jaws and face.
Reasons for this Examination:
The posterior occlusion or bite is established when the first molars erupt. At that time, one can evaluate the antero-posterior and transverse relationships of the occlusion, as well as discover any functional shifts or crossbites. Incisors have begun to erupt and problems can be detected such as crowding, habits,deep bites, open bites and some jaw discrepancies.
For some, a timely evaluation will lead to significant treatment benefits; for others, the principal immediate benefit is a parent’s peace of mind.We do not advocate comprehensive orthodontic treatment at age 7. However, interceptive treatment may be appropriate in the kinds of problems shown on the reverse.
Final treatment decisions should be made among the parent, child’s dentist and orthodontist.
If your child is older than 7, it’s certainly not too late for a check-up.
- Orthodontists can spot subtle problems with jaw growth and emerging teeth while some baby teeth are still present.
- While your child’s teeth may appear to be straight, there could be a problem that only an orthodontist can detect.
- A check-up may reveal that your child’s bite is fine. Or, the orthodontist may identify a developing problem but recommend monitoring the child’s growth and development, and then, if indicated, begin treatment at the appropriate time for the child. In other cases, the orthodontist might find a problem that can benefit from early treatment.
- Early treatment may prevent or intercept more serious problems from developing and may make treatment at a later age shorter and less complicated. In some cases, the orthodontist will be able to achieve results that may not be possible once the face and jaws have finished growing.
Need some work done?
Drop us a line, and we’ll guide you on the right path.
Early treatment may give your orthodontist the chance to:
Guide jaw growth
Correct harmful oral habits
Guide permanent teeth into a more favorable position
Lower the risk of trauma to protruded front teeth
Create a more pleasing arrangement of teeth, lips and face
Through an early orthodontic evaluation, you’ll be giving your child the best opportunity for a healthy, beautiful smile.
Malocclusions (“bad bites”) like those illustrated below, may benefit from early diagnosis and referral to an orthodontic specialist for a full evaluation.
In addition, if you notice any of the following in your child, check with your orthodontist:
• early or late loss of baby teeth
• difficulty in chewing or biting
• mouth breathing
• jaws that shift or make sounds
• speech difficulties
• biting the cheek or the roof of the mouth
• facial imbalance
• grinding or clenching of the teeth
• Sucking the thumb or fingers, or other oral habits
• Crowded, misplaced or blocked-out teeth
• Jaws that protrude or are recessed
• Protruding teeth
• Teeth that meet in an abnormal way or don’t meet at all
• Facial asymmetry (features out of proportion to the rest of the face)
• Inability to comfortably close lips
We can then identify any potential problems and, if necessary, discuss the appropriate time for treatment to begin.