The Benefits of Early Orthodontic Treatment

The Benefits of Early Orthodontic Treatment

A stitch in time saves nine or so the adage goes. The same applies for orthodontic treatment.

Often considered the realm of the teenager, the benefits of early orthodontic evaluation and treatment (known as interceptive or Phase I treatment) for children usually between 7-11 are numerous, potentially saving both time in the chair and expense down the road.

Young girls smiling with braces onSo what is the right age to see an orthodontist?

The recommendation by the American Orthodontic Association is that children have an evaluation done by 7 years old—or when the “permanent upper front teeth start to come in.”

This check-up does not mean that your child will need immediate treatment, and—in fact—only certain types of misalignments will benefit from early treatment. It is just a good preventative, monitoring measure, allowing your orthodontist to determine whether any treatment needs to be done and the best time to do it.

Why at such an early age?

As children, our bones continue to grow, making them more malleable and easier to mold into a more optimal shape by using orthodontic devices like palatal expanders and spacers. As we reach our teenage years, the bones begin to harden at which point it becomes more difficult to manipulate into the desired position. It can mean more intensive treatments, like oral surgery or tooth extraction to correct orthodontic

Is my child a candidate for Interceptive Orthodontics?

Not every child is a candidate for interceptive orthodontics. If your child has difficulty chewing and/or biting, lost their baby teeth prematurely (usually before five years old), front teeth that are crowded or protruding, mouth breathes or their teeth don’t meet properly (or at all), you should consider consulting an orthodontist.

What does early treatment help to accomplish?

More than a perfect smile, early treatment is used as a means to promote proper jaw growth and address certain “bad bites” (or malocclusions) like under-bites and cross-bites. It also creates the space for proper permanent teeth to grow into. Here are some of the beneficial outcomes:

• makes room for crowded, erupting teeth

• improved facial symmetry

• reduced risk of damage to protruding front teeth

• creates space for incoming teeth

• reduced need for tooth extraction

• speech impediment resolution, and

• reduced Phase II treatment time (should it be necessary) with braces.

At Orthodontic Associates, we feel it’s never too soon to consider all of the benefits that well-aligned teeth, a good bite and great smile can offer you and your family. Our 8 convenient locations around Baltimore, friendly staff and highly experienced Doctors make your entire orthodontic experience a pleasant one—from initial consultation to winning smile.

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