HOW DO I KNOW IF MY CHILD IS IN NEED OF ORTHODONTIC TREATMENT?
It is usually difficult for parents to determine if orthodontic treatment is necessary because there are many problems that can occur even though the front teeth may look straight. Dr. Lisa and our doctors are your best resource since we provide comprehensive care for your child. When appropriate, we will recommend that the orthodontist complete an evaluation of your child’s bite and position of the teeth. The initial exam by our orthodontist is complimentary and we would be more than happy to see your child and make any recommendations necessary.
WHAT ARE THE BENEFITS OF EARLY ORTHODONTIC EVALUATION?
Early evaluation provides both timely detection of problems and greater opportunity for more effective treatment. Prudent intervention guides growth and development, preventing serious problems later. When orthodontic intervention is not necessary, an orthodontist can carefully monitor growth and development and begin treatment when it is ideal. If there is no need for early intervention, braces are typically placed once all the permanent teeth have fully erupted.
WHAT IS THE BEST TIME TO BEGIN ORTHODONTICS?
Though an orthodontist can enhance a smile at any age, there is an optimal time period to begin treatment. Beginning treatment at this time ensures the greatest result and the least amount of time and expense. The American Association of Orthodontists recommends that the initial orthodontic evaluation should occur at the first sign of orthodontic problems or no later than age 7. At this early age, orthodontic treatment may not be necessary, but vigilant examination can anticipate the most advantageous time to begin treatment.
Developing malocclusions, or bad bites, can be recognized as early as 2-3 years of age. Often, early steps can be taken to reduce the need for major orthodontic treatment at a later age.
Early Treatment: This period of treatment encompasses ages 2 to 6 years. At this young age, we are concerned with underdeveloped dental arches, the premature loss of primary teeth and harmful habits such as finger or thumb-sucking. Treatment initiated in this stage of development is often very successful and many times, though not always, can eliminate the need for future orthodontic/orthopedic treatment.
Mixed Dentition: This period covers the ages of 6 to 12 years, with the eruption of the permanent incisor (front) teeth and 6 year molars. Treatment concerns deal with jaw and dental realignment problems. This is an excellent stage to start treatment, when indicated, as your child’s hard and soft tissues are usually very responsive to orthodontic or orthopedic forces.
Adolescent Dentition: This stage deals with the permanent teeth and the development of the final bite relationship.