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. Treating during this time ensures the greatest result and the least amount of time and expense. The American Association of Orthodontists recommends that the initial orthodontic evaluation should occur at the first sign of orthodontic problems or no later than age 7. At this early age, orthodontic treatment is usually not necessary, but a thorough examination can anticipate the most advantageous time to begin 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 later. When orthodontic intervention is not 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 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. For example, the presence of erupting incisors can indicate possible overbite, open bite, crowding, or gummy smiles. Timely screening increases the chances for an incredible smile.
What are the advantages of interceptive 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, and reducing treatment time with braces.
The benefits of early treatment
For those patients who have clear indications for early intervention, early treatment presents the opportunity to:
- Influence jaw growth in a positive manner.
- Harmonize width of the dental arches.
- Improve eruption of permanent teeth.
- Lower risk of trauma to protruded upper incisors.
- Correct harmful oral habits (thumb habits, etc).
- Improve aesthetics and self-esteem.
- Simplify and/or shorten treatment time for later corrective orthodontics.
- Reduce likelihood of impacted permanent teeth.
- Improve some speech problems.
- Hold or gain space for erupting permanent teeth.