Early orthodontic treatment can have a lifelong impact on your child’s oral health, dental development, and smile. At HLS Orthodontics, our highest priority when treating our youngest patients is to prevent more complex and severe problems from developing and eliminate the need for extensive orthodontic work and/or oral surgery in the future. The American Association of Orthodontics recommends your child see an orthodontist as early as age 7 to determine if any orthodontic treatment will be needed. If so, a comprehensive treatment plan will be designed to meet your child’s specific needs.
Phase One, or interceptive treatment, usually begins around age 8 or 9. During this phase, severe overbites, underbites, crossbites, impactions, or other progressive problems can be corrected. Another benefit of early treatment is that permanent teeth can be guided into their proper positions, which lessens the chance of extractions in the future.
Does my child need early orthodontic treatment?
Many parents ask this question, and we will be able to determine your child’s specific orthodontic needs at your initial consultation, which will be conducted free of charge. However, some signs may indicate your child is a candidate for early orthodontic treatment:
- Early or late loss of baby teeth (children typically lose their first tooth around age 5 and have all their permanent teeth around age 13)
- Difficulty chewing and/or biting
- Mouth breathing
- Continued thumb-sucking after age 5
- Speech impediments
- Protruding teeth (the top teeth and the bottom teeth extend away from each other)
- Malocclusion (crossbite, overbite, underbite)
- Crowded front teeth around age 7 or 8
If your child is nearing the age of 7, it is important to keep an eye on their dental development. If your child is experiencing one or more of the above signs, early orthodontic treatment may be needed. Your orthodontist will conduct a comprehensive exam and determine the best course of treatment. While many times we may not recommend any treatment at this age, it is important to be aware of your child’s developing orofacial structure and needs.
Early Orthodontic Treatment
Our greatest goal is to create a healthy, straight, and beautiful smile for each of our patients. If you would like to schedule a complimentary consultation to discuss and determine your child’s orthodontic needs, please contact our front office, where a member of our staff will be happy to assist you. We look forward to meeting you, and we appreciate the opportunity to provide you and your child with the best of care at one of our state-of-the-art facilities.