Many parents are unsure when they should take their children to an orthodontist. Our dentists in British Columbia can help you understand what signs to look for and how early orthodontic treatment can benefit your child's health.
When should kids begin orthodontic treatment?
Now and then, a concerned parent will ask us when they should bring their children to see an orthodontist. This could be because they expect their children to develop orthodontic issues as a result of hereditary factors, or because they are currently experiencing symptoms that they are concerned about.
We respond that, in terms of development, age, treatment needs, and other factors, each child is unique. The best time for children to begin orthodontic treatment is determined by the type of orthodontic problem (for example, tooth and bite misalignment) and its severity.
Until recently, orthodontists didn't usually treat kids until they were in their adolescent years, between the ages of 12 and 14 when their permanent teeth had erupted. This strategy frequently necessitated tooth extractions to make room for other teeth to shift as needed during treatment.
Today, orthodontists have begun to use interceptive orthodontics to treat children as young as seven years old. This way, we can catch orthodontic problems early on, keep more of your child's permanent teeth, and have a positive impact on their oral health.
Orthodontic appliances (not strictly braces) can be used while a child's baby teeth are still present with interceptive orthodontics for children. We can start the second phase of orthodontic treatment once the child's adult teeth erupt.
What are the early signs of orthodontic issues?
With interceptive orthodontic treatment, we can treat misalignment issues before they develop into larger problems. This can also benefit children’s health. Treatable issues include:
- Overly crowded teeth (one or both jaws would need to be expanded)
- Early removal of specific baby teeth to encourage permanent teeth to emerge correctly
- Maintaining space for permanent teeth to come in after premature loss of baby tooth
- Misaligned teeth
- Extreme tongue thrust habits
- Protrusion of front teeth
What advantages does interceptive treatment offer?
Early interceptive orthodontic treatment may have any of the following benefits:
- Crowded teeth have room to emerge
- The risk of trauma as a result of protruding front teeth is reduced
- Decreasing need for tooth extraction
- Reducing treatment length
- Reduced need for more extensive treatment later in life
Our dentists at myORTHODONTIST can examine your child's teeth to see if he or she is a candidate for orthodontic treatment. We may refer your family to a trusted orthodontist or handle the treatment ourselves, depending on the nature and severity of the case. Depending on your child's needs, treatment options may include braces, a retainer, an appliance, or a combination of these.
If your child could benefit from orthodontic treatment, we'll explain how it can help them develop better, then go over treatment options and answer any questions you might have.