Early Orthodontic Treatment for Children
You might wonder, “what is the difference between regular orthodontic and early orthodontic treatment, and why might my child need early orthodontic care?” “How will early orthodontic treatment in Cary, NC, benefit my child in the long run?” We’ve got the answers you seek.
The American Association of Orthodontists recommends that children visit an orthodontist as early as age seven. During this period, your orthodontist will evaluate whether your child will benefit from orthodontic treatment and determine the right course of treatment.
Early orthodontic treatment (also known as Phase One treatment) typically begins around age eight or nine, while Phase Two treatment begins around age 11 or older. Early orthodontic treatment aims to correct jaw growth and certain bite problems, such as an underbite. It is easier, less costly, and helps make room for the proper development of permanent teeth, thus reducing the chance of dental extractions in the future.
How Can I Tell if My Child Needs Early Orthodontic Treatment in Cary, NC?
Here are a few things to look for that may mean your child needs to visit an orthodontist:
- Late or early loss of baby teeth (your child should typically start losing their baby teeth around age five and have all permanent teeth around age 13)
- Difficulty biting and/or chewing
- Mouth breathing
- Speech impediments
- Continued thumb sucking after age five
- Protruding teeth (their top and bottom teeth extend away from each other)
- Malocclusions (misalignment of the lower and upper teeth) or teeth that don’t come together at all
- Crossbites (shifting of the jaw when the child opens or closes his or her mouth)
- Crowded front teeth that happen around age seven or eight
What Causes Orthodontic Problems, and How Will Early Orthodontic Treatment in Cary, NC, Benefit My Child?
Orthodontic problems such as bad bites, protruding teeth, jaw growth problems, too much space between the teeth, and crowded teeth can be inherited or caused by thumb-sucking habits, early or late loss of baby teeth, or injury to the mouth.
Most children lose all their baby teeth by age 13, and their jaw bones harden and stop growing by the end of their teen years. An orthodontic treatment for an adult often takes more time and can involve oral surgery or a tooth extraction. Early orthodontic treatment for kids can help prevent the need for orthodontic care later in life, leaving little to no chance of oral surgery or dental extractions in the future.
If your family dentist has directed you to visit the orthodontist, or your child is between the ages of seven and eight and shows signs of needing orthodontic care, please contact our orthodontic practice in Cary, NC, and schedule an appointment. Our team will examine your child to spot the issue and discuss the best steps to take toward caring for your child’s smile.