Orthodontics for Children
Caring for every size smile
The majority of our patients are children and teenagers and we can begin to see children as young as seven. Early assessments enable our orthodontists to determine if your child will require orthodontic treatment once all their adult teeth have erupted. If we believe they will benefit from orthodontics, we can anticipate the optimum time to begin treatment which will deliver the best results.
When is the best time to begin orthodontics?
Though an orthodontist can enhance a smile at any age, there is an optimal time period to begin treatment which ensures the best result with the least amount of time and expense. The Australian Society of Orthodontists (ASO) and the American Association of Orthodontists (AAO) recommend the initial orthodontic evaluation occur at the first sign of orthodontic problems or no later than age 7. By this age, most children have a mix of baby teeth and adult teeth, making it easier for the orthodontist to diagnose and correct tooth and jaw problems at the most appropriate time.
At this early age, orthodontic treatment may not be necessary. However, regular examinations allow our orthodontists to anticipate the most advantageous time to begin future treatment
What are the benefits of early orthodontic evaluation?
Early evaluation provides both timely detection of problems and greater opportunity for more effective treatment. Prudent intervention guides growth and development, preventing serious problems from occurring later. When orthodontic intervention is not yet necessary, an orthodontist can carefully monitor growth and development and begin treatment when it is ideal.
Why is age 7 considered the optimal time for the first appointment?
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. Regular screenings increase the likelihood of an incredible smile.
What are the advantages of early treatment?
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 of braces
What signs may mean your child needs to see an orthodontist?
- Early or late loss of baby teeth
- A hard time chewing or biting food
- Mouth breathing
- Finger or thumb sucking
- Crowded, misplaced or blocked teeth
- Jaws that pop or make sounds when opening and closing
- 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
- Crowded front teeth around age seven or eight