Early Treatment

Though an orthodontist can improve a smile at any age, there is an ideal time period to start orthodontic treatment. Beginning treatment at the most favorable time ensures the greatest result as well as the least amount of time and expense. The American Association of Orthodontists recommends that the initial orthodontic evaluation should take place at the first sign of orthodontic problems or no later than age 7. At this early age, a comprehensive evaluation provides both timely detection of problems and a better opportunity for the most effective and efficient treatment.

Signs Indicating Needed Treatment

By age 7, the first permanent molars and incisors have usually come in, allowing the orthodontist to evaluate front-to-back and side-to-side tooth relationships. Through a detailed assessment of the teeth at this stage, time-sensitive problems may be detected and corrected in order to prevent more serious future issues.

The orthodontist is then able to use orthodontic methods and appliances to:

  • Guide the growth of the jaws for the correction of horizontal and vertical discrepancies
  • Regulate the width of the upper and lower dental arches, preserve space for unerupted teeth
  • Create room for crowded erupting teeth
  • Reduce the need for permanent tooth extractions
  • Decrease the likelihood of impacted permanent teeth
  • Eliminate abnormal swallowing and speech problems
  • Correct habits such as thumb sucking
  • Reduce the risk of trauma to protruding front teeth.

Although orthodontic treatment may not yet be needed at this early age, a thorough examination enables the orthodontist to carefully monitor growth and development and therefore can assist in determining the most advantageous time to begin treatment.

To find out if your child is a candidate for early interceptive treatment, contact us today to schedule an examination and begin their experience for a better, brighter smile! And remember, you’re never too late for orthodontic treatment! Our doctors offer braces as well as other methods of treatment for adults, too. Learn more on our Adult Treatment page.