A Lifetime Of Healthy Smiles Starts Here At Kimball Orthodontics
The American Association of Orthodontists recommends that children see an orthodontist as early as age seven. At this point, your orthodontist will evaluate whether your child could benefit from early orthodontic treatment. While most children leave their evaluation not needing early treatment, some end up benefiting significantly from the opportunity to address developmental concerns while they are still in the early stages.
Early orthodontic treatment (also known as Phase One orthodontic treatment) typically begins around age eight or nine. Phase Two will begin around age 11 or older. The goal of early treatment is to correct the growth of the jaw and certain bite problems, such as underbite. Early treatment also helps to make room for permanent teeth to come in properly, lessening the chance of adult tooth extractions in the future.
How Can You Tell If Your Child Needs Early Orthodontic Treatment?
You may not be able to tell if your child needs early treatment, since some potential issues can only be identified through x-rays or with the trained eye of an orthodontic specialist. That being said, there are some warning signs you can watch for. If your child exhibits any of the following behaviors or symptoms, then an evaluation at age 7 is highly recommended:
- Early or late loss of baby teeth (your child should typically start losing teeth around age five, and will have all permanent teeth around age 13)
- Difficulty chewing and/or biting
- Mouth breathing
- Your child continues sucking his or her thumb after age five
- Speech impediments
- Protruding teeth (the top teeth and the bottom teeth extend away from each other)
- Teeth that don’t come together in a normal manner or even at all
- Shifting of the jaw when your child opens or closes his or her mouth (crossbite)
- Crowded front teeth around age seven or eight
What Causes Orthodontic Problems? How Will Early Treatment Benefit My Child?
Orthodontic problems such as crowding of the teeth, too much space between the teeth, jaw growth problems, protruding teeth, and bad bites can be inherited or caused by injury to the mouth, early or late loss of baby teeth, or thumb-sucking habits.
Most children lose all their baby teeth by age 13, and by the end of their teen years, the jawbones will harden and stop growing. Orthodontic procedures for adults often take more time and can involve tooth extraction or oral surgery. Receiving early orthodontic treatment as a child can help prevent the need for braces and orthodontics as an adult, leaving little to no chance of extraction or surgery in the future.
If your child is between the ages of seven and eight and shows signs of needing orthodontic care, or if you have been directed by your family dentist to visit the orthodontist, please contact our orthodontic practice and schedule an appointment. Click here or call 949.363.3350 to request your child’s free Kimball Smile Analysis. We look forward to meeting you!
5-Star-Rated Orange County, CA Orthodontist For Children’s Orthodontic Treatment – Serving Laguna Niguel, Laguna Beach, Aliso Viejo, Dana Point, San Juan Capistrano, San Clemente, Laguna Hills, Lake Forest, Mission Viejo, Ladera Ranch, Corona Del Mar, Newport Beach & El Toro, CA