The American Association of Orthodontists recommends that a child receive their first orthodontic screening by the age of 7. Although the majority of patients do not require treatment at that time, the initial exam allows the patient and parent to become more educated about orthodontic concerns, more acclimated with our office, and more familiar with the details of any anticipated treatment in the future.
At the initial exam appointment, Dr. Arnold is able to evaluate the need for early treatment. By addressing any impending problems at their earliest stages, the possibility of future extractions and overall time in treatment can be reduced.
Early orthodontic treatment varies between patients, but may include removable or fixed appliances that can provide more room for crowded, erupting teeth; preserve space for unerupted teeth; and create facial symmetry through manipulating jaw growth. The success of early treatment is often associated with appropriate timing. If you think your child may be a candidate for Phase 1 orthodontic treatment, don't hesitate to contact our office and schedule your complimentary initial exam.
Why is age 7 considered the optimal time for screening?
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. Timely screening increases the chances for an incredible smile.
What are the advantages of early or Phase I 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 with braces
Most often comprehensive orthodontic treatment with full braces is done between the ages of 11 and 15; sometimes as the second phase of a two-phase treatment plan and sometimes as a single phase.
In general, it is best to start as soon as all the baby teeth have been lost and the permanent teeth are in place. This may be as early as age 10 or 11 in girls and as late as 13 or 14 in boys. The less mature the teeth, jaws, and facial muscle systems are, the more rapidly correction can be accomplished and the less likely there will be any tendency for re-occurrence of the bite problem that has been corrected.
To find out if your child is ready for orthodontic treatment, contact us today to schedule a complimentary initial exam.