Ladera Ranch, CA – When you think of someone wearing braces, you probably think of a teenager – braces are almost a rite of passage during the teen years. But, did you know that it is actually recommended that children have their first orthodontic consultation around their seventh birthday?
“Some orthodontic issues are easier to fix the earlier they are detected,” says Ladera Ranch orthodontist Dr. Robert Gire. “We refer to this as early interceptive treatment, and it can make future treatment more efficient and effective. If we spot an issue that is emerging and can correct it while the jaw is still growing, we can save the patient (and their parents!) time and money.”
By the age of seven, most children’s mouths will have grown enough that we can begin to see how the adult smile is shaping up. We can recognize bite issues before they become more severe, and help curb bad habits that may lead to serious orthodontic issues.
Early interceptive treatment can:
- Provide a better environment for the permanent teeth to erupt
- Correct issues caused by bad habits, such as thumb sucking, tongue thrusting, or extended pacifier use
- Guide the growth of the jaw to accommodate erupting permanent teeth
- Correct more serious malocclusions, such as open bites, cross bites and deep bites, without the need for surgery
- Create a more functional bite and better facial harmony
- Lessen future treatment that could be more involved and invasive
“The great thing about beginning a relationship with an orthodontist at an early age is that we can begin treatment at the precise time to make the most impact,” says Dr. Gire. “While most patients probably won’t need treatment at the age of seven, we can begin monitoring your child so that we can begin treatment at the time when it will help us ensure the best outcome for your child.”
Treatment will often be provided in two phases. The first phase can begin while your child still has baby teeth. This phase will be to ensure the jaw is growing properly to accommodate the emerging permanent teeth to enable proper biting and chewing, correct harmful habits, intercept a developing issue and prevent further issues from developing, and help establish a bite that will be stable in the long-term.
The second phase will be when braces are placed. This phase will guide the teeth to their final positions, correct any minor bite issues that remain, and improve the way the teeth function.
“We want to ensure that as children grow, their smiles grow properly with them,” says Dr. Gire. “For some children, that will mean early interceptive treatment so that we can alleviate the need for more serious orthodontic treatment in the future.”
If your child is over the age of seven and hasn’t yet had an orthodontic consultation, schedule your complimentary consultation at Ladera Orthodontics today.