Early Treatment

The American Association of Orthodontists recommends that children see an orthodontist no later than age 7.

This may surprise you since orthodontics is usually associated with adolescence. However, the permanent first molars and incisors have usually erupted by this time and the child can be evaluated for any overbites, cross bites, or crowding that may be present. Early orthopedic intervention guides growth and development and may prevent serious problems that could require jaw surgery. Treatment may not start at this time, but it is important to ensure that your child receives the maximum dental benefit.

Early Warning Signs Indicating it is Time for an Orthodontic Exam:

  • Early or late loss of baby teeth

  • Difficulty in chewing or biting

  • Finger sucking or other oral habits

  • Mouth breathing

  • Crowding, misplaced, or blocked-out teeth

  • Jaws that shift, make sounds, protrude or retrude

  • Crossbites (teeth on the wrong side of where they should be)

  • Speech difficulty

  • Biting into the roof of the mouth

  • Protruding teeth (aka “Buck teeth”)

  • Teeth that meet in an abnormal way or don’t meet at all

  • Facial imbalance or asymmetry

Advantages of early orthodontic treatment:

  • Increase self-esteem early

  • Reducing the risk of trauma to protruding front teeth

  • Shorten/improve second phase of treatment

  • Possibly eliminate the need for future jaw surgery

  • Reduce need for permanent tooth extraction

  • Correct abnormal speech or swallowing problems

  • Alleviate thumb sucking habits