Early Orthodontic Treatment for Children

iStock_000006530218XSmallWhat is the difference between early orthodontic treatment and regular orthodontic treatment? Why might my child need early treatment? How will early orthodontic treatment give my child an advantage in the future?

The aim of early orthodontic treatment is to correct certain bite problems, such as overbite and underbite, as well as to correct the growth of the jaw. Early treatment helps to ensure that the permanent teeth have enough room to properly erupt, which can prevent the need for future tooth extractions. The American Association of Orthodontists recommends that children see an orthodontist by the age of 7 to determine whether the child will need early orthodontic treatment. Early treatment, known as Phase One, usually begins by age 8 or 9. Phase Two treatment will begin around the age of 11 or older. Early orthodontic treatment will benefit your child by preventing the need for more invasive, complex treatments in the future.

Does my child need early orthodontic treatment?

Your child may benefit from early orthodontic treatment if he or she shows signs of the following:

  • Speech impediments
  • Difficulty chewing or biting
  • Mouth breathing
  • Teeth that don’t come together in a normal matter or at all
  • Early or late loss of the primary (baby) teeth – your child should typically begin losing baby teeth around the age of 5, and should have all of their permanent teeth around age 13
  • Your child continues sucking their thumb after age 5
  • Crowded front teeth around age 7 or 8
  • Protruding teeth – the top and bottom teeth extend away from each other
  • Shifting of the jaw when your child opens or closes their mouth (crossbite)

What are the causes of orthodontic problems? How will early orthodontic treatment benefit my child?

Group Of Young Friends TogetherOrthodontic problems may be inherited, or may be caused by early or late loss of the baby teeth, thumb-sucking habits, or injury to the mouth. These may result in too much space between the teeth, protruding teeth, overcrowding of the teeth, jaw growth problems, bad bites, and other orthodontic problems.

By age 13, most children will have lost all of their baby teeth, and the jaw bones will harden and stop growing by the end of their teenage years. Early orthodontic treatment can benefit your child by helping to prevent the need for orthodontic treatment as an adult, when orthodontic procedures often require more time and may involve tooth extraction or oral surgery.

If your child shows signs of needing orthodontic treatment, is between the ages of 7 and 8, or if you have been directed by your family dentist to see an orthodontist, we encourage you to contact Almond Orthodontics today to schedule a free initial consultation.  Dr. Almond will carefully and gently examine your child and recommend the best options for caring for your child’s smile. Please call our office in Richland, Washington today. We look forward to caring for you and your family!