Early Orthodontic Treatment
Heller Orthodontics supports early orthodontic treatment for your child. According to the American Association of Orthodontists, the ideal age to bring your child in for their first orthodontic evaluation is age seven. This is the time when the jaw has grown sufficiently to indicate future development and growth. It’s also likely that, by that time, your child will have some permanent teeth.
Understanding Early Orthodontic Treatment
Early orthodontic treatment is a proactive method to address potential orthodontic issues before they worsen over time.
Parents are typically the first ones to notice possible problems with teeth, jaw and alignment. If you notice any of the following signs, it’s a good idea to contact your orthodontist in Laurel, MD for early orthodontic treatment. The signs to watch for include:
- One or more protruding teeth
- Teeth coming in at an odd angle
- Crooked teeth
- Persistent thumb or finger sucking, or a reluctance to say goodbye to the pacifier
- Difficulty chewing
- Difficulty biting
- Inordinate delay in the replacement of lost “baby” teeth by adult ones
Note that it’s better to rely on the signs mentioned above than by age. Children develop at their own rate, and the seven year marker is just a recommendation. If you see any of the signs mentioned above, it’s best to bring in your child for an orthodontic evaluation, even if they are not yet seven years old.
The Role of Baby Teeth in Orthodontic Health
Baby teeth are more than just temporary placeholders for adult teeth. They play a crucial role in guiding the development of your child’s jaw. During the transition phase, when baby teeth are being replaced by adult ones, it’s natural to wonder if your child’s teeth are growing in correctly. This is where early orthodontic treatment comes into play.
What’s Involved in Early Orthodontic Treatment?
During an early intervention consultation, the orthodontist will conduct a general but comprehensive exam of your child’s oral health. This is a chance for you and the orthodontist to discuss potential concerns about your child’s future dental growth and development. If warranted, early orthodontic treatment options may be considered.
This treatment is designed to ensure that your child’s mouth has sufficient space for the proper growth of teeth, to improve the alignment of the jaws, and to enhance the relationship between the upper and lower jaws. It may include the use of appliances such as retainers and/or space maintainers, as well as at-home steps. Since this concerns children between the ages of about seven to eleven, parents need to be closely involved to ensure that appliances are worn according to the orthodontist’s instructions, and that other oral health steps are properly followed at home. Many children are too young at that age to discern the importance of following the guidelines.
With quality early orthodontic treatment in Laurel, MD, you may avoid the need for more extensive and complex orthodontic treatment down the line, such as braces. This isn’t just about supporting a beautiful smile for your child, but about building a foundation where your child has the opportunity for lifelong oral health. For more information about early orthodontic treatment, or to book a consultation, contact Heller Orthodontics.