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Early Orthodontic Treatment
The earlier you start the better.

Early Orthodontic Treatment

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Many people assume that pre-teens and teenagers are the best candidates for orthodontic treatment. However, that’s not the case. The American Association of Orthodontists recommends that all children have an evaluation appointment with a qualified orthodontist no later than age seven. That’s 6 years before they become official teenagers.

And even though your kids may have perfect teeth already, an orthodontist can detect when there are underlying issues that could affect the development of your child’s adult teeth. For example, sometimes a child’s teeth are straight, but there are issues that need monitoring as your child grows and develops because of their bite and growth pattern. An orthodontist may also recommend that your child begin an early treatment plan to help your child’s teeth come in the right way.

The Benefits of Early Orthodontic Treatment

Early orthodontic treatment is the best way to prevent more serious problems later in life. At this stage, a child’s jaw and face are still growing, so we can achieve results that might not be possible once a child has matured and their jaw bone has hardened and stopped growing. This gives us a chance to guide your child’s teeth into the optimum position, improve aesthetic appearance, correct bad habits such as finger or thumb sucking, and reduce the risk of trauma to protruding teeth.

With early orthodontic treatment we can correct jaw growth, fix bite problems, make room for adult teeth, and reduce the need for tooth extractions later. Treating a child early can reduce overall treatment time as well as alter abnormal growth patterns, prevent extraction of permanent teeth, prevent the need for jaw surgery and future dental work.

Key Stages of Early Orthodontic Treatment

  • Phase 1 treatment begins at age 8 or 9 on average.
  • Phase 2 treatment begins around age 11 to 14 in a typical case.

How to Tell if Your Child Needs Early Orthodontic Treatment

Not all children will need early orthodontic treatment, but there are some red flag warning signs that your child is a suitable candidate for braces.

  • Protruding teeth – top and bottom teeth stick out, away from each other
  • Crowded teeth by age 7
  • A misaligned bite
  • Thumb or finger sucking after age 5
  • Mouth breathing/tongue thrusting habit
  • Speech impediments
  • Problems biting and chewing food
  • Jaw problems when opening & closing the mouth – this is known as a crossbite

What Causes Early Orthodontic Problems in Kids?

There are all kinds of issues that cause early orthodontic problems. Thumb and finger sucking will lead to protruding teeth; a bad bite or overcrowding may be inherited from parents. The early or late loss of baby teeth or oral injuries can cause issues.

We can detect problems, both visible and underlying jaw growth problems, and advise whether your child will benefit from early orthodontic treatment and braces for kids.

Make an Appointment to see a Kids’ Orthodontist

If you think your child would benefit from an early evaluation or your dentist has directed you to us, contact Lewis Orthodontics in Edmond, OK to schedule an appointment.

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