When Is a Good Age for Early Orthodontic Treatment?

Posted on: June 12, 2020

early orthodontic treatment St Peters, MO

Early orthodontic treatment is a great way to prevent teeth alignment concerns and bite complications from developing or worsening as more permanent teeth grow in. Understanding when an orthodontist may recommend early orthodontic treatment is important and something many parents often wonder. 

When to consider early orthodontic treatment

Every orthodontist may have different recommendations. However, it is important to start early orthodontic treatment soon enough before phase II treatment to minimize the development of alignment complications. The following is an overview of when to visit the orthodontist for an early orthodontic treatment consultation.

What is early orthodontic treatment?

Early orthodontic treatment, or phase I treatment, refers to orthodontic treatments that are designed to reduce the risk of jaw and teeth misalignments before the child enters into adulthood. Younger children have a malleable (soft) jaw, which makes it easier to manipulate and properly position. As children grow older, realigning the jaw and teeth is more of a challenge. Ultimately, early orthodontic aims at the prevention of future alignment concerns more than treating existing concerns. 

When should a child start early orthodontic treatment?

Many orthodontists recommend having children come in for the first visit around the age of 6 or 7. Early orthodontic treatment is generally between the ages of 6 and 10. At this age, the child has most likely started to get permanent teeth, and the orthodontist can gain a clear idea of how teeth will develop as the child ages. However, it is still young enough that efforts can be made to prevent improper growth of permanent teeth and the development of bite complications. Phase II orthodontics, which may involve braces or clear aligners, can be done with patients as young as 12 or 13 years old.  

What issues can early orthodontic treatment address?

Orthodontists can detect the probable development of alignment concerns in children as young as 6 or 7. There are also common signs that parents can check for as well, which include:

  • Teeth crowding
  • Overbites
  • Underbites
  • Crossbites
  • Impacted teeth

Most notably, parents can check to see how close together permanent teeth are after they erupt. If the teeth are close together, then teeth will likely be overcrowded as the child enters into their teenage years. Bite issues such as overbites, underbites and crossbites can also be addressed with early orthodontic treatment. 

How does the treatment process work?

The first step in the early orthodontic treatment process is the initial consultation, during which the orthodontist can check for any potential concerns through oral examination and dental X-rays. They can then recommend ways to prepare the child for phase II orthodontics, which may include a palatal expander or tooth extraction or simply educating the child on proper oral care. 

Talk to a kid-friendly orthodontist today

If your child is 7 or older, then it is time to consider a first visit with an orthodontist. Of course, not all children require early orthodontic treatment, but finding out early gives parents and the child a headstart and makes phase II treatment (if necessary) much easier. 

Are you considering early orthodontic treatment for a child? Get more information from Kling Orthodontics.

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