When is the best time to begin orthodontics?
Beginning treatment at the optimal time ensures the best possible result with the least amount of time and expense. The American Association of Orthodontists recommends that the initial orthodontic evaluation should occur at the first sign of orthodontic problems or no later than age 7. At this early age, orthodontic treatment may not be necessary, but the orthodontist can anticipate the most advantageous time to begin treatment.
What are the benefits of early orthodontic evaluation?
Orthodontists are trained to detect subtle problems with jaw growth and emerging teeth while the baby teeth are still present. The advantage for early detection of problems is that some problems are easier to correct if they are found and treated early.
Why is age 7 considered the optimal time for screening?
By the age of 7, the first permanent molars erupt, establishing the bite relationship of the back teeth. During this time, an orthodontist can evaluate front-to-back and side-to-side tooth relationships. For example, the presence of erupting incisors can indicate possible overbite, open bite, crowding or gummy smiles. Timely screening increases the chances for an incredible smile.
What are the advantages of interceptive treatment?
Early treatment may prevent more serious problems from developing and may make treatment at a later age shorter and less complicated.
Some of the most direct results of interceptive treatment are:
- Creating room for crowded, erupting teeth
- Creating facial symmetry through influencing jaw growth
- Reducing the risk of trauma to protruding front teeth
- Preserving space for unerupted teeth
- Reducing the need for tooth removal
- Reducing treatment time with braces