Many children as early as
5 or 6 years of age may benefit from an orthodontic evaluation. This helps in
some preventative measures.
By age 7, most children
have a mix of primary (baby) and permanent (adult) teeth. Children may experience
dental crowding, too much space between teeth, protruding teeth, and extra or
missing teeth and sometimes jaw growth problems. Some of these common
orthodontic problems seen in children may be inherited from their parents.
They are mostly caused by
thumb or finger-sucking, mouth breathing, dental disease, abnormal swallowing,
poor dental hygiene, the early or late loss of primary teeth, accidents or poor
nutrition. Trauma and other medical conditions such as birth defects may also
contribute to orthodontic problems. Whatever the cause, the orthodontist is
usually able to treat most conditions successfully.
The advantage for
patients of early detection of orthodontic problems is that some problems may
be easier to correct if they are found and treated early. Waiting until all the
permanent teeth have come in, or until facial growth is nearly complete, may
make correction of some problems more difficult. While your child’s teeth may
appear aligned and straight to you, there could be a problem that only an
orthodontist can detect.
For each child that needs
treatment, there is an ideal time for the treatment to being in order to
achieve the best results which the orthodontist has the expertise to determine.
In some cases, we might find a problem that requires
early treatment to prevent more serious problems from developing and may make
treatment at a later age. For those patients who have clear indications for
early orthodontic intervention, early treatment gives us the chance to:
- Guide growth of the jaw
- Lower the risk of trauma to protruded front teeth
- Correct bad oral habits
- Improve appearance and self-esteem
- Guide permanent teeth into a more favorable position
- Improve the way lips meet