Orthodontic Treatment – Get It Started Early
Orthodontic treatment does not have to be an exercise in frustration and angst for our patients. We want to make sure you know what is going on every step of the way—which is just one more element of our signature Southern hospitality. The American Association of Orthodontics recommends checking for early intervention by the time a child is seven. No referral from your general dentist is necessary. In fact, some general dentists may be unaware of the early signs of dental “malocclusions” or the tooth and jaw relationship that should be addressed by an orthodontist.
We offer early intervention services like exams for crowding, skeletal growth, and looking for teeth that are not coming in appropriately. We sometimes use palatal expanders, which are a plastic or metal device that fits to the roof of a child’s mouth and gradually makes more room for adult teeth. However, when it’s possible, we do prefer to wait to treat patients until all their adult teeth have erupted, between the ages of twelve and thirteen. There are myriad benefits to waiting, among them fewer missed school days; lower incidence of patient–and parent–burnout; and more mature patients means better oral hygiene, and longer-lasting results with less cost but all the while still having the growth of the jaws that can be utilized in the pre-teen and teen years.
According to research from top tier Universities such as University of North Carolina, University of Florida, and University of Manchester, early intervention orthodontic treatment is not as beneficial for children as was assumed. In other words, for many problems there is no harm in waiting until teeth have come in. Together you, your child and the orthodontist can determine what is best for your child in any of these situations:
Habits like thumb sucking, tongue thrusting, or mouth breathing.
Problems with baby teeth–early loss or late arrival.
Upper front teeth that stick out may be more prone to injury or trauma.
Crowding of front or back teeth
Difficulty with chewing or biting.
Crossbite of the front or back teeth–this may cause asymmetric growth in the jaws, bone and gum loss of certain teeth that may be in crossbite, or an embarrassing appearance. More on this website