When should my child first see an orthodontist?
The American Association of Orthodontists recommends that children visit an orthodontist for the first time by their seventh birthday. This may seem young to some parents, but it’s the ideal age for many reasons. It allows Dr. Feinstein to detect potential issues early to prevent bigger problems from appearing later. Early treatment allows for the most efficient and effective treatment.
What can early treatment accomplish?
Early orthodontic treatment allows Dr. Feinstein to:
- Create needed space for crowded teeth
- Manage crowding issues to try to avoid the need for extractions later
- Monitor, guide, and correct the growth of the jaw
- Regulate the width of the upper and lower arches
- Eliminate a crossbite from either the front or back that could contribute to bite, jaw, or gum issues, as well as possible trauma
- Correct habits such as thumb sucking
- Address social or esthetic concerns
Will I be able to tell if my child needs orthodontic treatment?
As a parent, there are some things you can look for that may indicate your child could benefit from orthodontic treatment. Signs to look for include early or late loss of the baby teeth, problems chewing or biting properly, mouth breathing, thumb sucking, extremely crowded teeth, teeth that do not come together at all or come together abnormally, or a jaw that looks disproportionate to the rest of the face.
Orthodontic treatment works to create beautiful smiles and harmonious bites that allow the jaw to function properly. This is one of the reasons why early treatment can be so beneficial. When the orthodontist can begin work while the jaw is still growing, we can guide the growth of the jaw to ensure the bite has a proper fit. Bad bites can lead to broken, chipped, and cracked teeth due to excessive wear and an abnormal amount of pressure being placed.
Does every patient require orthodontic work at the age of seven?
Every patient is treated as an individual, so just because your child sees us at age seven, that doesn’t necessarily mean treatment will begin right then. Rather, an early consultation allows us to begin treatment, when indicated, at precisely the right time to have the most impact. Every treatment plan is fully customized to meet the needs of the individual. Some children may benefit from beginning treatment early, while others may be monitored until we believe it’s the ideal time. Our goal is always to do what is best for each individual patient.
What does early treatment entail?
Early orthodontic treatment is typically accomplished in two phases. During the first phase, we work to ensure proper jaw growth and development. This creates an ideal environment for the permanent teeth to erupt, allowing for the second phase of treatment to be much more effective. Once the permanent teeth have erupted, the second phase of treatment guides them to their ideal locations. Braces or Invisalign ensure a beautiful result.
Early orthodontic treatment allows us to correct jaw discrepancies while the jaw is still growing, which can prevent the need for more serious treatment, such as extractions or jaw surgery, later.