What Is Early Orthodontic Treatment?
Early orthodontic treatment takes place between the ages of six and ten. Also called intervention treatment, early orthodontic treatment prevents more serious problems from developing and reduces the length of any adult treatment later in life and makes it less complicated.
Some orthodontic problems can only be treated before the jaw and facial muscles fully develop, and these require early treatment to prevent them from becoming lifelong issues.
The American Association of Orthodontics® recommends that children receive an orthodontic screening between ages six and seven, which is when permanent teeth have generally begun to grow in, and orthodontic problems become apparent. Orthodontic treatment may not be necessary at that point; however, thorough examination can help us anticipate the most advantageous time to begin treatment in the future.
How Will I Know if My Child Needs Early Treatment?
Some common signs that your child may need early orthodontic treatment are:
- Jaws that are positioned too far forward or back (over- or underbite)
- Shifting of the jaw when opening or closing the mouth (crossbite)
- Crowding, misplaced, protruding or blocked-out teeth
- Teeth that come together abnormally or not at all
- Trouble with chewing or biting
- Breathing through the mouth
- Jaws that shift or make sounds
- Premature or delayed loss of baby teeth (your child should lose their teeth between ages five and 13)
- Thumb-sucking after age five
- Biting the roof of the mouth or the inside of the cheek
- Jaws and teeth that are disproportional with the rest of your child’s face
Regardless of whether your child exhibits any of the signs listed above, you should still schedule an orthodontic evaluation for your child by age seven. Only through a thorough examination can our orthodontist determine whether treatment may be needed now or in the future.
What Are the Benefits of Early Orthodontic Evaluation & Treatment?
Early orthodontic evaluation provides both early detection of problems and greater opportunity for more effective treatment. Intervention prevents serious problems later in life by guiding growth and development of the jaw and teeth. If orthodontic treatment is not necessary at the time of the early evaluation, your orthodontist can still carefully monitor the growth of your child’s mouth and begin treatment when it is ideal.
Some of the most direct results of early orthodontic treatment are:
- Creating room for crowded, erupting teeth
- Creating facial symmetry through influencing jaw growth
- Reducing the risk of trauma to protruding front teeth
- Preserving space for unerupted teeth
- Reducing the need for tooth removal
- Reducing treatment time with braces
Schedule Your Child’s Early Orthodontic Treatment Evaluation Today
The only way to fully determine whether your child will need treatment is to see our orthodontist at Lunsford McCaffrey Orthodontics - West Palm Beach. Our office also proudly serves patients from Boynton Beach, Wellington, and other surrounding areas. To schedule your child’s early treatment evaluation with Dr. Kevin McCaffrey, please contact us at 561-363-0324 or use our appointment request form. We look forward to putting your child on the path to a lifelong healthy, beautiful smile!