Early Orthodontic Treatment

Early Orthodontic Treatment for Children

The American Association of Orthodontists recommends that children see an orthodontist as early as age seven.

At this point, Dr. Hessamfar will evaluate your child determine if your child will need orthodontic treatment.

Early treatment (also known as Phase One) if needed, typically begins around age seven. Phase Two will begin around age 11 or older. The goal of early treatment is to correct the growth of the jaw and certain bite problems, such as underbite or overbite. Early treatment also reduces the chances of extractions in the future by avoiding impacted and misplaced teeth.

How to tell if your child may need early orthodontic treatment

  • Early or late loss of baby teeth (Children typically start losing teeth around age five, and have all permanent teeth by age 13)
  • Abnormal bite (underbite or overbite)
  • Difficulty chewing and/or biting
  • Mouth breathing
  • Sucking of the thumb after age 5
  • Speech impediments
  • Protruding teeth
  • Shifting of the jaw when mouth is open (crossbites)
  • Crowded front teeth around age seven or eight

What causes orthodontic problems, and how will early prevention benefit my child?

Orthodontic problems such as crowding of the teeth, space between teeth, abnormal jaw growth, protruding teeth, and bad bites can be inherited. Other cases can be due to injury to the mouth, early or late loss of baby teeth, or thumb-sucking habits.  Most children lose all their baby teeth by age 13. By the end of their teen years, the jaw bones will harden and stop growing.

Receiving early orthodontic treatment can shorten or prevent the need for orthodontics as a teenage or an adult. Many orthodontic problems that are untreated as early prevention often take much more time and can involve tooth extraction or surgery when patients starts their treatment in their teenage years or as an adult.

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