Offering a Variety of Orthodontic Treatment Options
The American Association of Orthodontists (AAO) recommends that children be seen by an orthodontist by age seven; which is about the time the first permanent molars erupt and the front teeth begin to come in. The purpose of this early visit is to evaluate the growth and development of the child’s teeth and jaws. At this age, we can determine if there are crossbites, crowding, impacted teeth, thumb-sucking habits, and other problems that can affect normal development. If indicated, early treatment can develop the width of dental arches, gain space for crowded or impacted teeth, guide the eruption of permanent teeth, and reduce the need for permanent tooth extraction.
Early treatment can correct problems which would worsen as the permanent teeth erupt. We limit early treatment to situations where it can really make a difference in overall treatment outcomes. For those certain conditions that do require early treatment, we can plan to start at an ideal time. Most children may not need an early phase of orthodontic treatment. For most young children, we monitor their growth and development, free of charge, until they are ready to start treatment at “the right time.”
For most children, the best time to start treatment is before the loss of the primary (baby) second molars. This time may vary for each child, sometimes occurring as early as nine or ten years of age… instead of the usual eleven to twelve. That is why it is important to monitor children during the exchange of the primary teeth with the permanent teeth so that the most effective time to start treatment will not be missed. Adolescents and early teenagers are growing rapidly. Children with large overbites usually have an underdeveloped lower jaw as the main contributing factor. Jaw growth modification with orthopedic treatment is needed for these types of problems and is best started at this time.
Orthodontics is not just for children and teenagers. People of all ages can benefit from orthodontic treatment. Many adults never had the opportunity to have orthodontics as a child and have lived with improperly aligned teeth and an unattractive smile. Adult orthodontic care can provide healthier teeth and gums, increase the ability to clean the teeth, improve chewing function, and increase one's self-confidence and self-esteem by creating a beautiful smile!