Though An Orthodontist Can Enhance A Smile At Any Age, There Is An Optimal Time Period To Begin Treatment.

Beginning evaluation at this time ensures the greatest result and 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 vigilant examination can anticipate the most advantageous time to begin treatment.

Benefits of Early Treatment


Early treatment if rendered in a timely fashion allows your orthodontist to:

  • Create more space for crowded teeth
  • Possibly avoid the need for permanent tooth extractions later in life
  • Correct thumb sucking and help improve minor speech problems
  • Prevent protruding front teeth from getting chipped or hurt during play/ from sports.
  • Correct and guide the growth of your child’s jaw to help the permanent teeth come in straight
  • Regulate the width of the upper and lower arches

Why should malocclusions be treated?

According to studies by the American Association of Orthodontists, untreated malocclusions can result in a variety of problems:

  • Crowded teeth are more difficult to properly brush and floss, which may contribute to tooth decay and/or gum disease.
  • Protruding teeth are more susceptible to accidental chipping.
  • Crossbites can result in unfavorable growth and uneven tooth wear.
  • Openbites can result in tongue-thrusting habits and speech impediments.

Here are a few things to look for that may mean your child needs to see an orthodontist:

  • Early or late loss of baby teeth
  • Mouth breathing
  • Finger or thumb sucking
  • Protruded front teeth
  • Crowded, misplaced, or blocked teeth
  • Jaws that pop or make sounds when opening and closing
  • A hard time chewing or biting food
  • Teeth that come together abnormally, or do not come together at all
  • Jaws and teeth that are not proportionate to the rest of the face

Why is age 7 considered the optimal time for screening?

By the age of 7, the first adult molars erupt, establishing the back bite. 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.


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