When is the best time to begin orthodontics?
Though an orthodontist can enhance a smile at any age, there is an optimal time period to begin treatment. Beginning treatment at this time ensures the greatest result and the least amount of time and expense. The American Association of Orthodontists recommends that the initial orthodontic evaluation should occur at the first sign of orthodontic problems or no later than age 7. At this early age, orthodontic treatment may not be necessary, but vigilant examination can anticipate the best time to begin treatment.
What are the benefits of early orthodontic evaluation?
Early evaluation provides for early detection of problems, greater opportunity for more effective treatment and most importantly, preventing serious problems later on. When orthodontic intervention is not necessary, an orthodontist can carefully monitor growth and development and begin treatment when it is ideal.
Why is age 7 considered the optimal time for screening?
Usually by the age of 7, the first adult molars have erupted, establishing the back bite. During this time, Dr. Bitton can evaluate front-to-back and side-to-side tooth relationships. For example, the presence of erupting incisors can indicate possible overbite, open bite or crowding.
What are the advantages of Early/Interceptive treatment?
Some of the most direct advantages of early treatment are:
- Creating room for crowded, erupting teeth
- Creating facial symmetry through influencing jaw growth
- Reducing the risk of trauma to protruding front teeth
- Preserving space for unerupted teeth
- Correcting harmful oral habits, such as thumb sucking
What types of problems can be identified early?
Image courtesy of American Association of Orthodontists