If you are thinking of orthodontic treatment for your child, we recommend that they first see an orthodontist when they are seven or eight years old. This may sound young but scientific research illustrates there are many advantages to obtaining early orthodontic treatment. Whether your child needs braces or alternative procedures, it is best to consult an expert at a time when treatment may be less extreme and even preventative.
When your child first meets one of our orthodontists here at iSmile Orthodontics, we will take the time to carefully evaluate the way in which their jaws are developing, the growth of their permanent teeth and whether there is enough space in their mouth. This is a process which can begin before all the baby teeth have been lost so there is no need to delay. Most early orthodontic treatments can begin once the four front upper teeth have descended. Peace of mind is as easy as booking in for an expert consultation. You don’t need to be referred by your dentist. It may be that your child does not need any treatment or your orthodontist may recommend you wait a few years until all the teeth have grown to have braces fitted. Even if this is the case, consulting with an orthodontist at an early stage means they can identify the optimum time to start treatment for your child.
By identifying and addressing any malocclusion problems early, an orthodontist can begin to correct the already grown teeth to make space for those teeth which are incoming. This is commonly called Phase One Treatment and can reduce the risk of your child needing extractions in later life. Treatments can include appliances, expanders and space maintainers and are intended to improve the growth pattern of teeth. Until we are eighteen, our jawbones continue to change shape and harden. Children’s jaws are more pliable and their teeth will accept the movement better than adults, making it more effective and quicker to conduct orthodontic treatment at a younger age. Phase Two Treatments, such as braces, may come later after all of the teeth have descended to correct the alignment of the adult teeth. Some children may not need future work if they attend an orthodontist from an early age because potential problems could have been avoided through early treatment.
Common signs your child may require orthodontic attention in the future include:
- Losing teeth either early or late – most children start to lose teeth when they are five and have all of their adult teeth by the time they are thirteen.
- Speech problems
- Mouth breathing
- Problems chewing or biting
- Sucking their thumb past the age of five – if this persists, the habit can push the adult teeth out of place.
- A shifting jaw when your child opens their mouth – also known as a crossbite.
- Crowded front teeth – this is not usually noticeable until they are about eight and many of adult teeth have grown in.
- Their teeth do not meet properly
Even if you do not recognise any of these symptoms in your child, making an appointment with an orthodontist is always recommended. A professional may be able to identify a mild problem or foresee a future issue. Whatever the recommendation, the younger a child visits, the better chance the child has of minimising their need for extreme dental treatment. In some cases, braces may be avoided altogether.
Here at iSmile Orthodontics our staff have extensive experience treating children of all ages. We work alongside the child and their parents to ensure everyone involved understands the treatment process, what stages to expect and also to develop an affordable, flexible payment plan. Contact us today to speak to one of our friendly staff members and make an appointment for your child.