What Is Early Treatment?
Early orthodontic treatment prevents more serious problems from developing and helps make any treatment later in life shorter and less complicated. The American Association of Orthodontics recommends that children receive an orthodontic screening by age seven.
At this point, permanent teeth have generally begun to grow in and orthodontic problems become apparent. Orthodontic treatment may not be necessary at this early age, but vigilant examination can anticipate the most advantageous time to begin treatment.
The goal of early treatment is to correct jaw growth and certain bite problems, such as an underbite, while the bones in your child’s face are still growing. Early treatment also helps ensure that permanent teeth grow in properly to lessen the need for complex treatment later in life.
Signs Your Child May Need Early Treatment
- Premature or delayed loss of baby teeth (your child should start to lose baby teeth by age five and finish around age 13)
- Difficulty chewing or biting
- Mouth breathing
- Jaws that shift or make sounds
- Thumb-sucking after age five
- Teeth that do not come together normally or at all
- Biting the cheek or roof of the mouth
- Jaws and teeth that are out of proportion with the rest of the face
- Jaws that are too far forward or back (overbite or underbite)
- Shifting of the jaw when opening or closing the mouth (crossbite)
- Crowding, misplaced, or blocked-out teeth
- Protruding teeth
Even if your child does not have any of the issues listed above, you should still schedule an orthodontic evaluation for your child by age seven. Only an orthodontist can tell whether or not treatment may be needed in the future through a thorough examination.
What Are The Benefits Of Early Evaluation & Treatment?
Early evaluation provides both timely detection of problems and greater opportunity for more effective treatment. Prudent intervention guides growth and development, preventing serious problems later. When orthodontic intervention is not necessary, an orthodontist can carefully monitor growth and development and begin treatment when it is ideal.
Additionally, orthodontics is not merely for improving the aesthetics of your child’s smile. Orthodontic treatment improves bad bites (called malocclusions) as well. Malocclusions occur as a result of tooth or jaw misalignment, and they can affect the way your child smiles, chews, cleans their teeth, or even feels about their smile.
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
Why Should Malocclusions Be Treated?
According to studies by the American Association of Orthodontists, untreated malocclusions can result in a variety of problems, including:
- Crowded teeth are more difficult to properly brush and floss, which may contribute to tooth decay and/or gum disease.
- Protruding teeth are more susceptible to accidental chipping.
- Crossbites can result in unfavorable growth and uneven tooth wear.
- Open bites can result in tongue-thrusting habits and speech impediments.
Ultimately, orthodontic treatment does more than give your child a pretty smile. It makes them a healthier person too!
Schedule An Appointment For Your Child Today!
If your child needs an orthodontic evaluation for early treatment, contact us to schedule an appointment with our Nashua, NH office today by calling (603) 882-2101 or using our online appointment request form. Our staff is more than happy to answer any questions you have and help you however they can. We look forward to giving your child a healthy, beautiful smile that will last a lifetime!