Early Orthodontic evaluation and treatment is vitally important to children's oral health. The Canadian Association of Orthodontists recommends that children should see an orthodontist for the first time by the age of 7.
This recommendation is often surprising to parents, and they wonder if there is a point in orthodontics at an age when children still have their baby teeth.
Primary teeth are just going to fall out, so why does it really matter if they’re a bit crooked? Can't we just wait to see if there are issues with the permanent teeth? In other words, for many parents, it seems like jumping the gun.
The fact is, though, that some orthodontic problems can be evaluated and potentially curtailed, even at this early age.
By the age of 7, the first permanent molars and incisors have come in for most kids. This makes it possible for the orthodontist to evaluate potential problems, like crowding.
If these problems are caught early, they can be monitored and treated, potentially helping prevent or lessen more serious problems when your child is older.
Is it possible to start orthodontic treatment when primary teeth are still in place?
In some cases, orthodontic problems are serious enough to warrant starting treatment when your child still has baby teeth.
If the patient is not ready for treatment right away, the orthodontist will monitor the development and growth of his or her jaw and teeth, until the time is right to begin.
In cases where orthodontic treatment starts early, it is typically ‘early interceptive treatment,’ a limited form of orthodontic treatment.
This type of treatment usually happens between the ages of 6 and 10, and does not involve full braces. Instead, it makes more space for developing teeth, and corrects overbites, underbites, crossbites, and harmful oral habits like thumb sucking.
Do children who have early interceptive treatment still need braces later on?
Usually, children who have had early interceptive treatment still need braces once they have all their permanent teeth.
Early interceptive treatment, in fact, is typically done to prepare for full-fledged orthodontic treatment. In the long run, it’s makes later treatment more effective and sometimes quicker, too.