Early Orthodontic Treatment for Children
What is the difference between early orthodontic treatment and regular orthodontic treatment, and why might my child need early treatment? How will early treatment benefit my child in the long run?
These are just a few of the questions surrounding the topic of early orthodontic treatment for children. The American Association of Orthodontists recommends that children see an orthodontist as early as age seven. At this point the orthodontist will evaluate whether your child will need orthodontic treatment.
Early treatment (also known as Phase One) can begin as early as 6 years of age (Phase Two will begin around age 11 or older). The goal of early treatment is to correct the growth of the jaw and certain bite problems and also to make room for permanent teeth to come in properly, lessening the chance of extractions in the future.
At Blue Ridge Orthodontics we offer a FREE new patient consultation. Call our office to schedule today: 828-687-0872. You can meet with one of our doctors, have any necessary x-rays taken and go over your child's teeth and bite at no cost. Many kids under 11 years old are not ready for treatment but catching things earlier can avoid more expensive and extensive treatment later on. Call 828-687-0872 to schedule that appointment today. You do not have to wait for a dentist referral.
How to tell if your child may need early orthodontic treatment:
- Early or late loss of baby teeth (your child should typically start losing baby teeth around age five)
- Difficulty chewing and/or biting
- Mouth breathing
- Your child is or was a thumb-sucker
- Speech impediments
- Protruding teeth (the top teeth and the bottom teeth extend away from each other)
- Teeth that don't come together in a normal manner or even at all
- Shifting of the jaw when your child opens or closes his or her mouth (crossbites)
- Crowded front teeth
What causes orthodontic problems, and how will early prevention benefit my child?
Orthodontic problems such as crowding of the teeth, too much space between the teeth, jaw growth problems, protruding teeth, and bad bites can be inherited or caused by injury to the mouth, early or late loss of baby teeth, or thumb-sucking habits.
Most children lose all their baby teeth by age 13, and by the end of their teen years, the jaw bones will harden and stop growing. Orthodontic procedures for adults often take more time and can involve tooth extraction or oral surgery. Receiving early orthodontic treatment as a young child can help prevent the need for more extensive orthodontics later, leaving little to no chance of extraction or surgery in the future. There are many things that early treatment can solve that make it much less invasive later. You do not need to wait for your dentist to refer your child. At any point when you have questions call our office at 828-687-0872 to schedule a consultation.
The earlier you come in to for an evaluation the better. Once your child has started loosing their baby teeth it is best to come have them checked out. There is no charge for the initial exam and there will be no charge for follow-up observations until your child is ready for treatment. Our team will provide your child with a FREE initial exam, and discuss with you the best steps to take toward caring for your child's smile.