The American Association of Orthodontics recommends visiting the orthodontist around the age of seven. By this age, most children have both primary (baby) teeth and permanent (adult) teeth, which makes it easier to diagnose and correct tooth and jaw problems sooner and without surgical intervention. Not all children need orthodontic treatment, but an evaluation is necessary to determine which children can benefit from treatment.
We recommend monitoring your child for the below conditions and having an evaluation by an orthodontist:
- Thumb, pacifier or other oral habits
- Crowded or misplaced teeth
- Difficulty chewing or eating
- Early or late loss of baby teeth
- Mouth breathing
- A jaw that is not proportionate to the rest of the face
- Teeth that come together abnormally
- A jaw that pops or makes sounds when opening and closing
Benefits of Early Treatment:
- Creates more space for crowded teeth
- Can avoid the need for future oral surgery
- Avoids the need for permanent (adult) teeth to be extracted
- Corrects thumb sucking or other oral habits and helps improve minor speech problems
- Regulate the width of the upper and lower jaws
- Corrects and guides the growth of the child’s upper and lower jaw to help the permanent (adult) teeth to come in the proper place
Braces on Baby Teeth?
The growth and development of your child’s baby or primary teeth are essential for proper overall health. Your child’s primary teeth are very important because they save space in the jaw that is needed for the proper development of the permanent teeth. Often times a thumb, finger or pacifier habit contributes to the movement of the teeth and jawbones. In other circumstances, malocclusions or misalignments of the teeth and/or jaw are simply genetic.
Why are Children Getting Braces so Young?
Not all children need early orthodontic treatment (Phase I), but if your doctor recommends early orthodontic treatment for your child, remember that this is the best treatment for your child! A simple misalignment can be fixed with quick orthodontic treatment if it is completed at a young enough age. If this essential window of time is missed and the bone is done growing, the problem can turn from a dental condition to a skeletal condition. This can no longer be treated with braces, but now may have to be treated with invasive and expensive jaw surgery or even removal of permanent teeth!