Early Treatment

It's never too late to begin orthodontic treatment and when it comes to your youngster's teeth, earlier may be better! According to the American Association of Orthodontists, kids should have an initial orthodontic screening at age 7. What makes an early evaluation so important?

Kids benefit from seeing an orthodontist at an early age though early evaluation doesn't necessarily lead to early treatment. In most cases, if orthodontic work is needed, we simply monitor your child's growth patterns until it's time for treatment to begin. This gets us the best results in the most efficient way, and helps prevent future problems.

Though every child's development is different, in most kids the first adult molars emerge by around age six. This lets us get a handle on the basic teeth alignment, from front to back and side to side. We can determine whether there is adequate room in the mouth for the permanent teeth — and, if not, to take action.

 Orthodontic Problems.  

When Earlier treatment Is better

Treatment for common orthodontic problems typically begins around age 9 to 14, when baby teeth are gone and the permanent ones are in place. There are some conditions that are much easier to treat if caught at an early age, when a child's natural growth processes are going full speed ahead.

Crossbite.One is severe crossbite, a condition where the upper teeth close inside the lower teeth. To treat this problem, we use a device called a palatal expander, which gradually and painlessly widens the upper jaw; it's especially effective when the jaw hasn't fully developed. If we wait too long, a more complicated treatment — or even oral surgery — might be required.


Crowding.Another condition that benefits from early treatment is severe crowding. This occurs when the jaws are too small to accommodate the permanent teeth. Either palatal expansion or tooth extraction may be recommended to help the adult teeth erupt properly. Even if braces are required later, the treatment time will be shorter and less complicated.


Protruding teeth.Early intervention may help resolve other problems. Protruding teeth, especially in front, can be prone to chipping and fractures; they lead to problems with a child's self-image. A severe underbite, caused by the lower jaw growing larger than the upper jaw, can result in bite problems. Orthodontic appliances can correct these problems when the child's development is in full swing, increasing the chances that surgery can be avoided.

Correcting bad habits

 Dangers of Thumb Sucking.

Anyone can pick up a bad habit. There are some situations where a youngster's detrimental habits influence the development and function of his or her teeth, jaws and mouth. Examples of these are persistent thumb sucking, tongue thrusting and mouth breathing.

The sucking reflex is natural in early childhood and usually disappears between ages 2 and 4. If it persists, the pressure of the digit on front teeth and upper jaw causes the teeth to move apart and the jaws to change shape. This leads to an “open bite,” and may impair speech. An open bite can also be caused by the force of the tongue pushing forward against the teeth (tongue thrusting).

Mouth breathing — an abnormal breathing pattern where the mouth remains open — is related to alterations in the muscular function of the tongue and face. It causes the upper and lower jaw to grow abnormally, which leads to serious orthodontic problems. Although mouth breathing may start from a physical difficulty, it can become a habitual action that's hard to break.

Various orthodontic treatments correct these detrimental habits — and the sooner they're taken care of, the less damage they cause. Because these potential problems aren't easy to recognize, early orthodontic screening is recommended.

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