If you have young children, it’s easy to keep putting off the trip to the orthodontist. After all, you may want to avoid the stress, time, and cost of braces for as long as possible. However, bringing your child to the orthodontist early — the American Association of Orthodontists recommends around or before age seven — can help make the process as simple and painless as possible, and even reduce the need for costly procedures! Tisseront Orthodontics is here to explain everything you need to know about early orthodontic treatment and why it matters.
What is early treatment?
Early treatment, also sometimes referred to as interceptive treatment, is a type of orthodontic treatment that begins when some baby teeth are still present. While this type of treatment is not suitable for every child, some orthodontic problems can become more serious over time. In these cases, it is best for treatment to begin as soon as possible, when a few baby teeth are still present but enough adult teeth have grown in so that orthodontists can understand the whole picture of your child’s developing mouth.
Why is early treatment important?
The most important reason why early treatment is the best option in some cases is that it can allow orthodontists to correct problems more easily. Especially if your child’s problem will worsen over time, treating it as soon as possible can make the process easier for everyone. While patients who receive early treatment may require a second course later on, once all adult teeth have grown in, this does not mean that the first round could have been put off. If your child’s problem is one that prompts an orthodontist to recommend early treatment after an evaluation, it is because waiting could threaten the long-term health of your child’s teeth and mouth.
Are there any specific signs my child needs early treatment?
While it is generally recommended that children who will need orthodontic treatment first visit an orthodontist around age seven, there are certain things to look out for. If you notice that your child is having trouble chewing or biting food or his or her jaw makes sounds when it opens or closes, you should make an appointment with an orthodontist. If your child has habits such as mouth breathing or thumb sucking, he or she should also see an orthodontist early. Finally, any abnormalities such as crowding or blocked teeth or disproportionate jaw and teeth sizes are a sign that orthodontic treatment may be necessary. Bringing your child to an orthodontist when you notice any of these signs can help fix the problem before it worsens.