The American Association of Orthodontists recommends that all children have orthodontic evaluations no later than the age of seven, because this is the age when the six year molars have usually erupted. It is also the age at which crowding and skeletal problems are best diagnosed and planned for treatment. Traditional orthodontic treatment (braces) may or may not be necessary, but clinical evidence of crowding, an underbite, an overjet, an overbite; or a crossbite can best be evaluated and possibly treated at this age. When most people think of braces, they think of teenagers wearing traditional orthodontic brackets (braces) and wires. They don’t think of early preventive intervention. Studies now show that there are good reasons for your child to get an orthodontic evaluation much sooner than after they lose their last baby tooth (age 12 to 13). Listed below are just a few of those reasons.
Advantages of Early Evaluation and Treatment:
- To move protruding front teeth back so they will be less susceptible to traumatic injury, i.e. sports, bats, balls, bikes, boards, etc. etc.
- To improve the relationship between the positions of the upper and lower jaws allowing more normal future growth and development.
- To take maximum advantage of growth by orthopedically correcting skeletal problems, i.e. narrow dental arches, underbites, overbites, etc.
- To eliminate or reduce the need for extractions of permanent teeth so that these take can take a more normal eruption path into the mouth.
- To correct harmful oral habits, such as mouth-breathing and finger-sucking.
- To properly guide the growth and development of the jaws preventing abnormal changes to the developing temporomandibular joints.
- Check out our recent post, An Orthodontic Cleaning Guide: For Parents Who Aren’t Dentists for more information on how you can take great care of your braces.
- Learn more about the importance of early evaluation by reading through our post, Orthodontic Evaluations | Why Parents Should Act Sooner Rather Than Later