Early Orthodontic Treatment

When should my child begin orthodontics?

An orthodontist can enhance your child’s smile at any age; however, there is an ideal time period in which to begin orthodontic treatment. By beginning at this optimal time, it will ensure the best result, as well as less time and money. According to the American Association of Orthodontics, an initial evaluation for orthodontics should be no later than 7 years old, or as soon as there is a sign of orthodontic problem. Orthodontic treatment may not be necessary at this early age, but attentive examination by Dr. Chen can anticipate the best time to begin orthodontic treatment.

Are there benefits to evaluating for orthodontics early?

Absolutely. Evaluating orthodontics early detects problems timely and provides more opportunity for a better, effective treatment. Orthodontic intervention can help guide oral growth and development, which can prevent serious problems down the road. If orthodontic intervention is not early, Dr. Chen will see your child regularly to monitor growth and development carefully and begin treatment at an optimal time.

Age seven seems young, why is this the ideal time for an evaluation?

The first molars erupt around age 7, which establish a back bite. Dr. Chen will evaluate, during this time, the relationship from side-to-side and front-to-back. For instance, if your child’s incisors are erupting, this may indicate a possible open bite, crowding, overbite, or a gummy smile. By keeping up with timely evaluations, or screenings, your child is at an increased chance for an amazing smile.

Are there advantages to interceptive treatment?

Yes, direct advantages of interceptive treatment include:

  • Created space for erupting, crowded teeth
  • Increased facial symmetry due to influenced jaw growth
  • Reduced trauma risk to protruding front teeth
  • Preserved room for unerupted teeth
  • Reduced need for extraction, or tooth removal
  • Reduced orthodontic treatment time

How do I know if I or my child is a candidate for orthodontic treatment?

Orthodontic treatment is not only to improve the smile aesthetically; orthodontics also improves malocclusions (bad bite). Misalignment in a tooth or jaw can cause malocclusions. This affects your smile, the way you chew, how well you clean your teeth, and how you feel when you smile.

Why do I need to treat malocclusions (bad bite)?

The American Association of Orthodontists conducted studies that confirm the variety of problems that can occur as a result of untreated malocclusions:

  • Crowded teeth are difficult to brush and floss properly, which can cause decay or disease to the teeth and/or gum
  • Teeth that protrude are more prone to accidental chipping
  • Crossbites can cause uneven tooth wear and unfavorable growth
  • Openbites can cause speech impediments and tongue-thrust habits

Ultimately, orthodontic treatment is beneficial for more than just a pretty smile – it creates an overall healthier you!