Benefits of Starting Early Treatment

As a family-oriented dental practice, we love seeing young children, and one reason we like to see them regularly is to monitor the development of their teeth and jaws. Sometimes young children will benefit from an early orthodontic evaluation.

What is an Early Orthodontic Evaluation?

An early orthodontic evaluation is an examination by an orthodontist that can take place as soon as age six or seven. By this stage, the orthodontist can predict how their teeth and jaws will develop and can identify any problems that could arise. It’s a very useful appointment as even though your child may not need treatment immediately, it will be possible to plan if necessary. It’s a strategy that ensures any treatment needed can coincide with growth spurts, providing a better treatment outcome. When children are still quite young, orthodontic treatment can guide the growth of their jaws, creating a more attractive facial profile while ensuring there is enough room for their adult teeth to erupt normally. Sometimes a child will only need early treatment. Other times it might be part of a two-stage plan, where a child will still need to wear braces during adolescence, but most likely to create a more cosmetically perfect smile than to correct any major orthodontic problems. One significant advantage of early treatment is that it can correct the underlying causes of crooked teeth, often avoiding tooth extractions.

Why Would My Child Need an Early Orthodontic Evaluation?

We may suggest an early orthodontic evaluation if your child has specific oral habits such as mouth breathing, sleep apnoea or thumb or finger sucking. If a child loses their milk teeth too early, it can affect the alignment of their adult teeth. While sucking a thumb is a perfectly natural behaviour for young infants, when it continues for too long, it can cause problems with the way the upper teeth and jaws develop. The action of sucking a thumb pulls the upper jaw outwards, elongating it, potentially causing protrusive upper teeth and bite problems.

What Type of Appliances Are Used in Early Treatment?

There is a range of appliances that may be used during early orthodontic treatment and which are removable or fixed. For example, one appliance is called a palatal expander and helps to widen the upper jaw, correcting any problems caused by thumb or finger sucking. Another example is space maintainers, designed to hold open the space left behind by milk teeth that have been lost too soon until the adult teeth are ready to erupt.

For more information, you may reach out to any Dr Smile Family Dentist branch: