Many parents wonder when they should consider bringing their kids to see an orthodontist. Our Sydney River dentists provide insight and advice about what signs to watch for and how early orthodontic treatment can benefit children's health.
When should kids begin orthodontic treatment?
Every now and then, a concerned parent will ask us when they should bring their children to see an orthodontist. This could be because they anticipate orthodontic issues for their children due to hereditary factors, or because they are currently experiencing symptoms that worry them.
Our response is that each child is unique in terms of development, age, treatment needs, and other factors. The best time for children to begin orthodontic treatment will depend on the specific orthodontic issue (for example, misalignment of teeth and bite) and its severity.
Until recently, orthodontists didn't typically treat children until they were in their adolescent years - 12 to 14 years old after their permanent teeth had erupted. This strategy frequently required extractions to allow other teeth to shift as needed during treatment.
Today, the method has changed, and orthodontists are starting to treat children between the ages of 7 and 11 by using interceptive orthodontics. By doing this, we can address orthodontic problems before they become serious, preserve more of your child's permanent teeth, and improve their oral health at a young age.
With children's interceptive orthodontics, orthodontic appliances (rather than just braces) can be used while a child still has baby teeth. The second stage of orthodontic treatment can start once the child's adult teeth erupt.
What are the early signs of orthodontic issues?
With interceptive orthodontic treatment, we can treat misalignment issues before they develop into larger problems. This can also benefit children’s health. Treatable issues include:
- Overly crowded teeth (one or both jaws would need to be expanded)
- Early removal of specific baby teeth to encourage permanent teeth to emerge correctly
- Maintaining space for permanent teeth to come in after premature loss of baby tooth
- Misaligned teeth
- Extreme tongue thrust habits
- Protrusion of front teeth
What advantages does interceptive treatment offer?
Early interceptive orthodontic treatment may have any of the following benefits:
- Crowded teeth have room to emerge
- The risk of trauma as a result of protruding front teeth is reduced
- Decreasing the need for tooth extraction
- Reducing treatment length
- Reduced need for more extensive treatment later in life
Your child's teeth can be examined by one of our dentists at Riverside Dental to determine whether they are a candidate for interceptive orthodontics. Depending on the particulars of your case and its severity, we might recommend an experienced orthodontist to your family or handle the orthodontic treatment ourselves. Depending on your child's needs, there are a variety of treatment options that might include braces, a retainer, an appliance, or a combination of these.
If your child is a candidate for orthodontic treatment, we will explain how treatment can help your child's development, as well as explain treatment options and answer any questions you may have.