Your child may have only lost a few of his or her baby teeth, but that doesn’t mean it’s too soon to see an orthodontist. The American Association of Orthodontists recommends that children receive an orthodontic evaluation by the age of 7 for one very big reason: There is an earlier phase of youth braces that may simplify and shorten any future need for orthodontic treatment.
Reasons for an Early Orthodontic Evaluation
While tweens and teens are the typical candidates for braces, interceptive orthodontics can begin as early as age 7. Most parents believe they know when their children show signs of problematic jaw growth. However, there can be subtle development issues occurring with your child’s jaw growth or emerging adult teeth that only an orthodontist will recognize, even if it looks like your child’s teeth are straight.
Addressing oral health complications early in your child’s life with youth braces could save your child (and you) a lot of effort once they’re a teen.
- If the jaw or dental arch is in a poor position, it can be corrected.
- The jaw bones can be guided to accommodate erupting teeth.
- Protruding front teeth can be moved to lower the risk of damage or breakage.
- Oral habits like thumb sucking can be corrected so they don’t impact development.
- Potential alignment problems can be stopped before they develop.
- Biting and chewing issues can be corrected.
One of the biggest benefits of early orthodontic evaluation is what it can do for your child’s self-esteem. Children aren’t too young to recognize when their mouth looks different than their peers – even beyond the mixture of giant adult teeth and tiny baby teeth – and if you can save them from being bullied or made fun of because of their appearance, you will improve their young life and keep them thinking positively about the benefits of good oral health.
Making a Decision About Youth Braces
Just because your child is evaluated for orthodontics at a young age, that doesn’t mean they will automatically undergo orthodontic treatment. There may be an issue that needs to be watched, in which case a few years could pass before any action needs to be taken. And, your child’s jaw and bite may be just fine, in which case another evaluation will happen in the teen years when full braces are typically put in place.
Should your child need early orthodontics, you don’t need to envision them wearing a set of complete braces, and they’re not eligible for Invisalign. But the methods used are often relatively discreet. Typically, tools like expanders, a tongue crib, upper braces, or a space maintainer are put in place to complement and assist their jaw growth and development.
It’s important to feel comfortable with the recommendations for your child’s interventions. Seek out multiple opinions, and make the best determination for your family. Keep in mind that early youth braces allow your orthodontist to achieve results now that may not be possible once the face and jaws have finished growing, which means your child could face more complicated orthodontic treatment when they’re older.
Schedule your child’s youth braces orthodontic evaluation at Roberts & De Marsche, the orthodontic practice serving Center City, Philadelphia and Lawrenceville, NJ.