The American Association of Orthodontists recommends an orthodontic screening at age 7. By this age, incisors and first molars have erupted in most children, allowing us to effectively evaluate initial orthodontic needs. Certain issues are well advised to treat at an early age, such as detrimental crossbites, finger sucking or tongue habits, severe crowding, or severe jaw discrepancies. Treatment is also indicated if the patient’s smile is an aesthetic concern and causing emotional distress. By correcting posterior crossbites, we can prevent potential future negative effects of skeletal asymmetry. By correcting anterior crossbites, we can help to preserve bone and soft tissue covering lower incisors. By eliminating finger sucking or tongue habits, we can correct open bites that might otherwise develop into skeletal problems in the future. With severe crowding, we can help to make space for permanent tooth eruption. For severe jaw discrepancies, we can get early correction for aesthetic reasons so the patient does not have to go through several years feeling self-conscious.
While the above mentioned issues are good reasons to initiate treatment around age 7-8, they may not always be necessary. Several different high quality research studies performed at the University of Florida, University of North Carolina, and in the UK have shown that treatment initiated in one comprehensive phase with all permanent teeth erupted usually obtains similar or better results than two phase treatment initiated at age 7-8. Early phase treatment obtains an initial improvement in most concerns; however, when the completed phase II patients were compared with the finished patients who only had one phase with all permanent teeth erupted, there were no significant differences. At Family Orthodontics, we will perform a comprehensive evaluation of the patient’s needs and recommend the best time to get started with orthodontics. If treatment can be completed in one comprehensive phase with all the permanent teeth, we can save you money and time, prevent children from getting burnt out on long orthodontic treatment, and prevent negative side effects of wearing braces for too long, such as scarring of the teeth. If waiting until this time is appropriate, we will schedule FREE observation visits to plan the best time to get started!
Schedule your complimentary consultation with Dr. Danny Bass today to allow him to give you his opinion on when your child should start orthodontic treatment!