While this might seem much earlier than usual, bad bites (technically known as malocclusion) can be identified in children as young as two. On the other hand, those children who wait until after the age of 14 may have a harder time correcting growth irregularities.
In fact, the dentists at Great Grins for KIDS check our patients for orthodontic needs at EVERY cleaning appointment. If our orthodontist decides that your child needs braces, we will offer you treatment alternatives, and the treatment process will begin when you decide.
Preventive or interceptive orthodontic treatment can begin between two to six years of age and focuses on the shape of dental arches, early baby teeth loss, and habits like thumb sucking. Sometimes treatment at this stage can alleviate the need for orthodontics in the future.
The earlier that children and parents are aware of what is going on in a child's mouth, the less difficult future treatments need to be to ensure a beautiful smile and a healthy mouth well on into adulthood.
Our orthodontist, Dr. Mark, is always available to answer your questions, offer opinions, and give you recommendations on treatment timing.
One of the primary reasons for an early orthodontic screening is to determine if your child needs preventative treatment. In some cases, when preventative measures are taken, a child can avoid getting braces in the future or require them for a shorter amount of time. Of course, it is not always possible to prevent the need for braces, but being informed early of your child's orthodontic needs can help them be prepared for treatment.
There are basically two areas we watch to prevent orthodontic problems:
|1.||Tooth crowding or spacing: The early loss of milk, or primary, teeth can lead to the loss of space needed for the permanent replacement. Space maintainers are used to prevent this problem of dental arch space loss. Space maintainers usually consist of a metal orthodontic band with a stainless steel wire that will hold the remaining teeth in proper position. If permanent teeth have adequate space to erupt into, they will come in fairly straight. If permanent teeth erupt fairly straight, then their tendency to become crooked again after braces are removed is diminished significantly. Read About Saving Space and Space Maintainers.
|2.||Jaw growth: By correcting skeletal problems at young age, your orthodontist can prevent more expensive and invasive surgical treatment later in life. The most common jaw growth problem we correct early is a narrow upper jaw (maxilla). This can be naturally occurring or caused by thumb sucking. A narrow upper jaw can be corrected by using a palatal expander that attaches to the primary teeth and spreads apart the two halves of the upper jaw (maxillae). In adults, the maxillary suture that travels down the center of the palate is fused and requires surgically cutting the jaw to achieve the same result that is so easily obtained in a child. Read More about Expanding Your Palate and Crossbites.|