When is the best time to begin orthodontics?
Though an orthodontist can enhance a smile at any age, there is an optimal time period to begin treatment. Beginning treatment at this time ensures the greatest result and the least amount of time and expense. The American Association of Orthodontists recommends that the initial orthodontic evaluation should occur at the first sign of orthodontic problems or by the age of 7. Although orthodontic treatment is often not necessary at this early age, timely examination will help to anticipate the most advantageous time to begin treatment.
Children who we see for an examination that may benefit from treatment in the future but are not yet ready to be treated become members of our “Kids Club”. Kids Club patients continue to be seen periodically for brief re-examination visits to monitor growth and manage orthodontic problems until the proper time for treatment.
What are the benefits of early orthodontic evaluation?
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 until the time when initiating treatment – if indicated – becomes ideal.
Why is age 7 considered the optimal time for screening?
Around the age of 7 the first adult molars erupt, which establishes the back bite. The front permanent teeth begin to erupt as well. This allows an orthodontist to evaluate front-to-back and side-to-side tooth relationships. For example, the presence of erupting incisors can indicate possible overbite, open bite, crowding or gummy smiles. Timely screening increases the chances for an incredible smile.
What are the advantages of interceptive treatment?
Some of the most common indications for interceptive 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
Are you a candidate for orthodontic treatment?
Orthodontics is not merely for improving the aesthetics of the smile; orthodontic treatment improves bad bites (malocclusions). Malocclusions occur as a result of tooth or jaw misalignment. Malocclusions affect the way you smile, chew, clean your teeth or feel about your smile.
Why should malocclusions be treated?
According to studies by the American Association of Orthodontists, untreated malocclusions can result in a variety of problems:
- Crowded teeth are more difficult to properly brush and floss.
- Protruding teeth are more susceptible to accidental chipping.
- Crossbites can result in unfavorable growth and uneven tooth wear.
- Openbites can result in compromised function and speech impediments.
Ultimately, orthodontics does more than make a pretty smile – it creates a healthier you.