Although there is no exact age for children to begin orthodontic treatment, the American Association of Orthodontists recommends a visit to the orthodontist around age seven. By seven, most boys and girls have a mix of baby teeth and adult teeth, which enables us to diagnose and correct tooth and jaw problems sooner and without surgery.
Many children do not need orthodontic treatment, but there are several scenarios in which they should receive orthodontic treatment. Some children have crowding of baby teeth, or maligned jaws. Some have finger or thumb-sucking habits or tongue thrust habits that affect the positioning of their teeth.
In these cases, jaw expanders, space maintainers, habit appliances, or retainers may be appropriate to correct such habits and create and maintain spacing for permanent teeth. In some cases, children benefit from Two-Phase Orthodontic Treatment, which combines the guiding of a child’s facial growth with straightening of his or her adult teeth.
HERE ARE A FEW INDICATIONS YOUR CHILD SHOULD SEE AN ORTHODONTIST:
- Early or late loss of baby teeth
- A hard time chewing or biting food
- Mouth breathing
- Finger or thumb sucking
- Crowded, misplaced, or blocked teeth
- Jaws that pop or make sounds when opening and closing
- Teeth that come together abnormally, or do not come together at all
- Jaws and teeth that are not proportionate to the rest of the face
- Crowded front teeth around age seven or eight
EARLY TREATMENT ALLOWS RAD ORTHODONTICS TO:
- Correct and guide the growth of your child’s jaw to help the permanent teeth come in straight
- Regulate the width of the upper and lower arches
- Create more space for crowded teeth
- Avoid the need for permanent tooth extractions later in life
- Correct thumb sucking and help improve minor speech problems