Early Treatment

Though an orthodontist can improve most tooth and jaw alignment problems at any age, there is an optimal time period to initiate orthodontic treatment. Initiating orthodontic treatment at that precise time will ensure the greatest result, and also ensure that the patient will be in treatment for the least amount of time (and expenses).

The American Association of orthodontists recommends that children see an orthodontist no later than age seven. With the majority of the young patients, no treatment will be suggested and the patient will be placed on a re-evaluation appointment in 12 months. However, there are several clinical signs indicating that it is time for your child to be seen by an orthodontist:

  • Difficulty or pain while chewing
  • Early or late loss of primary (baby) teeth
  • Sucking habit (or any other type of oral habit)
  • Mouth breathing, snoring
  • Excessive crowding or spacing
  • Protruding teeth (buck teeth)
  • Grinding or clenching of teeth at bedtime
  • Speech difficulties
  • Upper and/or lower jaws that are growing too much or not enough
  • Asymmetry of the face
  • Jaws that shift when closing
  • Noises in the jaw joint (with or without pain)
  • Deep overbite, such as biting in the roof of the mouth

For all patients who have clear indications for early orthodontic treatment, many benefits can be obtained:

  • Create a pain-free chewing environment
  • Reduce or eliminate the need to extract permanent teeth
  • Eliminate harmful oral habits
  • Facilitate brushing and reducing the chances of having cavities
  • Improve upper airways passage, reducing or eliminating breathing problems
  • Improve eruption of permanent teeth
  • Create sufficient room for eruption of all permanent teeth
  • Reduce the risk of trauma to the protruding upper teeth (buck teeth)
  • Eliminate or reduce wear on teeth from abnormal jaw habits
  • Improve some speech problems
  • Influence jaw growth in a positive manner, reducing or eliminating the need for jaw surgery
  • Improve dental/facial aesthetics
  • Improve self-esteem and self-confidence
  • Simplify and possibly shorten treatment time for later orthodontics
  • Eliminate or reduce asymmetrical growth of the jaws
  • Reduce the chance of impacted teeth