Why is early orthodontic treatment so important? While you probably already know that you’re never too old for braces, you may not realize that when it comes to a child’s teeth, earlier might be better than later.
Children Should First See an Orthodontist by Age 7
Dr. Ashlee Weber agrees with the American Association of Orthodontists’ recommendation that children should see an orthodontist for an initial evaluation around age 7. While this may seem like a young age to see an orthodontist, there are several reasons why a child should be seen by this time.
Most children’s first molars have begun to come in at around the age of six. This, along with other developmental factors, allows an orthodontist to thoroughly evaluate the basic alignment of the teeth from front to back and side to side. It is also possible at this point for an orthodontist to determine whether there is enough space in the mouth for all of the permanent teeth to come in, and if not, to take action.
If there is no indication that a child needs orthodontic treatment after this initial evaluation, we can simply monitor the child’s growth pattern until a time and need to start treatment arises. This gives us an opportunity to obtain the best results in the most efficient manner. It also helps prevent future problems from occurring and may make treatment at an older age less complicated and less expensive.
Benefits of Early Treatment
There are many benefits associated with early orthodontic treatment, as it can:
- Guide jaw growth
- Lower the risk of trauma to protruding front teeth
- Correct harmful oral habits like thumb and finger sucking
- Improve a child’s appearance & self-esteem
- Improve the way the lips come together
- Reduce the extent of orthodontic treatment needed later in life
- Prevent the need for extractions while improving problems like an overbite, underbite, or crossbite
- Prevent the need for future surgeries for problems like an overbite, underbite, or an impacted tooth (a tooth that becomes blocked out and stuck in the gums)
- Make any later treatment needed less expensive
- Make oral hygiene easier to maintain by straightening the teeth
Without a doubt, an early orthodontic evaluation will provide a child with the best opportunity for a healthy, straight, and beautiful smile that will last a lifetime!
If you’d like to schedule an appointment for your child, please contact Weber Orthodontics at (816) 746-1200. We serve patients throughout Kansas City North including Parkville, Liberty, North Kansas City, Gladstone and the greater Kansas City area. We look forward to meeting you and your child soon!