Some young children may benefit from an orthodontic evaluation and treatment while baby teeth are still present. Although treatment is unusual at this early age, some preventative treatment may be indicated. The advantage for patients of early detection of orthodontic problems is that some problems may be easier to correct if they are found and treated early.
Early Evaluation is Important
- Early evaluation isn't always followed by treatment
- We will monitor your child's growth until it is time for treatment
- It helps prevent future problems
- It allows us to get a handle on the basic alignment of the teeth
- We can determine whether or not there is enough room in the mouth for all of the permanent teeth
When Early Treatment is Better
We understand that every child is different and development differs. Kids can benefit from seeing an Orthodontist at an early age since the first adult molar tends to begin to emerge around age six. Some conditions can be easier to treat if they're caught at an early age.
Severe Crossbite: when the upper teeth close inside the lower teeth
- Can be treated with a palatal expander which gradually and painlessly widens the upper jaw
- Complicated treatment or surgery may be the last option if left untreated
Severe Crowding: when the jaws are too small to accommodate all of the permanent teeth
- Palatal expansion or tooth extraction may be recommended
- If braces are required later, the treatment time will be shorter and less complicated
- Prone to chipping and fractures
- Self-Image issues
Severe Underbite: when the lower jaw grows larger than the upper jaw
- Braces and headgear can successfully correct these issues to avoid surgery
Correcting Bad Habits
Everyone has bad habits, however, there are some that can be detrimental to one's health. Orthodontic bad habits can influence the development and function of a child's teeth, jaw, and mouth.
Persistent Thumb Sucking
- Typically disappears between 2–4 years old
- The pressure can cause teeth to move apart and the jaws to change shape
- Can lead to an "open bite" which may impair speech
- An Open bite can also be caused by the force of the tongue pushing forward against the teeth
- Could cause the upper and lower jaw to grow abnormally
- It may begin as a physical difficulty, but can become habitual
There are many orthodontic treatments we offer that can help correct these parafunctional habits. The earlier they are treated, the less damage they may cause. These potential problems may not be easy to detect, which is why it is even more important to schedule an early orthodontic screening for your child.