People of all ages may be in need of orthodontic treatment. The majority of people get braces when they are teenagers or later on in life after they forgot to wear their retainers. However, many parents are unaware of the importance of early orthodontic intervention for their children. In fact, the American Association of Orthodontists recommends that children should have their first orthodontic evaluation by the age of 7. In this blog post, we will explore why it is important for children to see an orthodontist at an early age. Most of the time, Dr. Peterson will perform a screening and the child won’t require any intervention. But he will be checking for the following potential red flags in their growth and development.
Early Detection of Orthodontic Problems
By the time a child reaches the age of 7, many of their permanent teeth have started to emerge. This is the perfect time for an orthodontist to examine the child’s teeth and jaw to detect any potential problems. Some of the most common orthodontic problems that can be detected at an early age include:
- Crowding: When there is not enough space in the mouth for all of the teeth to fit properly, the teeth may become crowded or overlap each other.
- Crossbite: When the upper teeth bite inside the lower teeth, it is known as a crossbite. This can cause problems with chewing and can also affect the development of the jaw.
- Overbite: When the upper front teeth overlap the lower front teeth, it is known as an overbite. This can cause problems with the bite and can also lead to excessive wear and tear on the teeth.
- Underbite: When the lower front teeth overlap the upper front teeth, it is known as an underbite. This can cause problems with the bite and can also affect the development of the jaw.
By detecting these problems at an early age, Dr. Peterson can develop a treatment plan to correct them before they become more serious.
Early Intervention can prevent future problems
In some cases, early intervention can prevent more serious orthodontic problems from developing in the future. For example, if a child has a habit of thumb-sucking or tongue-thrusting, this can affect the development of their teeth and jaw. If these habits are not addressed at an early age, they can lead to more serious problems later on. By addressing these issues early on, an orthodontist can help prevent the need for more extensive treatment later in life.
Improved Results with Early Treatment
In some cases, early orthodontic treatment can lead to better results than waiting until later in life. For example, if a child has a narrow upper jaw, Dr. Peterson may recommend a palatal expander to widen the jaw. This can help create more space for the teeth to fit properly and can also improve the child’s breathing and speech. If this treatment is done at an early age, it can be more effective than waiting until the child’s jaw has stopped growing.
Reduced Need for Extractions or Surgery
In some cases, early orthodontic intervention can help reduce the need for extractions or surgery later in life. For example, if a child has severe crowding, Dr. Peterson may recommend removing one or more teeth to create more space in the mouth. However, if this problem is detected early enough, other orthodontic treatments may be able to correct the problem without the need for extractions. There are also certain jaw discrepancies that must be addressed at a young age (between ages 7-10) that if left untreated my lead to the need for a major jaw surgery later in life.
Improved Self-Esteem and Confidence
Finally, early orthodontic treatment can help improve a child’s self-esteem and confidence. Children who are self-conscious about their teeth or smile may be hesitant to smile or speak in public. By correcting these problems at an early age, children can feel more confident in their appearance and may be more willing to participate in social situations.
In conclusion, there are many good reasons why children should see an orthodontist by the age of 7. By detecting and addressing orthodontic issues at a young age, your child may be able to avoid future extractions, jaw surgery, and have an increase in his or her self-confidence during some very important formative years. If you have any questions whether your child needs some early interceptive treatment, don’t hesitant to schedule a free consultation with Dr. Peterson.