Some of orthodontists give the top five reasons why early intervention is important.
Optimal Timing: Examining a child around age 7 helps to identify future problems and provides a window for treatment. A child’s first adult molars start erupting around this time and they begin to form the back bite. At the initial visit, a dentist will examine a child’s front-to-back and side-to-side bites. For example, emerging incisors can be signs of a possible overbite, open bite, crowding or gummy smile. Cross bites and protruding front teeth are two conditions that are particularly important to address early.
While orthodontics will improve your smile at any age, starting treatment at the optimal point in time will garner the best results. If a dentist can intervene at the perfect moment, he or she can direct tooth growth and avoid serious problems later.
In addition, some children require a two-phase approach to orthodontics. They receive a set of braces in early childhood, but then additional orthodontic intervention is required during their growth spurt in puberty. However, these children need to be identified at a young age for treatment to be effective.
Jaw Growth: It used to be that children received braces in early adolescence, but it is more common today to start orthodontics at earlier ages.
One reason is that it’s possible to guide erupting permanent teeth into better positions. For example, it’s not uncommon for the dental arch to be too small to fit all the permanent teeth. It used to be that extraction was the only way to address such crowding, but today a orthodontist can use a palate expander to widen the upper arch. This gives the adult teeth more room to emerge and improves the chances that they will be straight.
Avoiding Future Trouble: Early screenings permit timely detection of potential issues and improve the chances of effective treatment. Also, treatment at a later age can require surgery, tooth extractions and other measures.
A bad bite affects how a person smiles, chews, brushes and feels about how he or she looks. Fixing a poor bite is critical for preserving a patient’s future dental health.
Shorter Treatment Time: Intervening at the right moment allows for a shorter treatment period. “If we start orthodontic treatment early, it can work in tandem with the jaw’s growth and reduce the time for wearing braces.
While it’s possible to provide orthodontics for adults and children in their late teens, it can take longer because their jaws are no longer growing – there may also be limitations on what can be accomplished. On the other hand, Invisalign invisible braces work best for patients with all of their adult teeth.
Monitoring: Sometimes younger children’s mouths are not ready for orthodontic treatment. “In that situation, we will monitor the child’s development closely through regular office visits. Then we can identify the optimal time to begin treatment.