What is the Right Age to Begin Orthodontic Treatment?
The American Association of Orthodontists recommends that every child receive an initial orthodontic examination by age 7 and even earlier if you or your dentist notices a problem. The timing of orthodontic treatment is extremely important and greatly affects the treatment result. Since no two patients are alike, there is no best speciﬁc age at which to begin treatment.
Early diagnosis and treatment by an orthodontic specialist will determine the best timing and may prevent more serious problems from developing. While most people tend to associate orthodontics with children and adolescents, adults are also great candidates for treatment. More than 25% of our patients are adults. New materials, such as clear, ceramic braces and lnvisalign®, have resulted in braces that are barely noticeable and easy to wear.
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, simplifying serious problems. When orthodontic intervention is not necessary, an orthodontist can carefully monitor growth and development and begin treatment when it is ideal. Not all patients need early intervention. The most important result of an early evaluation is that each patient has the opportunity to be treated at the best possible time for their individual diagnosis.
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 moderately 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
- Catching such issues as impacted, missing or extra permanent teeth early
Are you a candidate for orthodontic treatment?
Orthodontics is not merely for improving the aesthetics of the smile; orthodontic treatment improves bad bites (malocclusions). Malocclusions occur as a result of tooth or jaw misalignment and affect the way you smile, chew, clean your teeth as well as feel about your smile.
Why should malocclusions be treated?
According to studies by the American Association of Orthodontists, untreated malocclusions can result in a variety of problems:
- Crowded teeth are more difficult to properly brush and floss, which may contribute to tooth decay and/or gum disease.
- Protruding teeth are more susceptible to accidental chipping.
- Crossbites can result in unfavorable growth and uneven tooth wear.
- Openbites can result in excessive wear and force on the posterior teeth which can lead to cracked or broken teeth in middle adult years.
Ultimately, orthodontics does more than make a pretty smile – it creates a healthier you.