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Early Orthodontic Treatment

There is no wrong or inappropriate time in getting orthodontic treatment. But in the case of children, the procedure is better gotten sooner rather than later. The American Association of Orthodontists advises every child to go for an initial orthodontic screening once they are 7 years old. This screening will enable the early treatment of any teeth problem found.


Early orthodontic screening is beneficial to kids in many ways. It is crucial to note that in most cases, treatment of any problem discovered may not commence instantly.

If after evaluation, it is concluded that your child will need orthodontic work, then their growth model will be monitored pending the time to begin treatment. During this monitoring period, the dental professional will come up with the most efficient treatment plan.

At age six, the first adult molars have started coming out in most children. This occurrence might differ in some kids as every child has a unique development pattern. At this stage, the child can be evaluated to see if they have proper teeth alignment. They are also checked to see if there is enough space in the mouth to accommodate all the permanent teeth. If the assessment reveals that your child needs treatment, then, preparation for the procedure will commence.

At about age 9-14, all the temporary teeth have fallen off, and most of the permanent teeth are already in place. This period is the best time to begin treatment of orthodontic problems. Growth and development are most rapid during the early years of children. Some issues are quickly treated if discovered at this early age, and one of such condition is the severe crossbite.


Severe crossbite occurs when the teeth above close inside the teeth below. A palatal expander is a device used in the treatment of this condition. This device functions by slowly but painlessly widening the upper jaw, and is most effective in a non fully developed jaw. Severe crossbite should be treated as soon as possible, as waiting could result in needing oral surgery or a more complicated procedure.

Severe crowding is a condition in which all the permanent teeth cannot be accommodated in the jaw because they are too small. Enough room needs to be created to contain all the permanent teeth to be and to do this a palatal expansion or a tooth extraction will be required.


Other conditions that need early intervention include:

  • Protruding teeth are susceptible to splintering and fracture and affect a child self-image.
  • Severe underbite occurs when the jaw below outgrows the jaw above.

These conditions are easily corrected if treated at an early age, and this will significantly reduce the need for surgery. Braces and headgears can be useful in the treatment.


Correcting Bad Habits


There are several everyday habits in children that are in actuality detrimental to their teeth and jaw development and function. Persistent thumb sucking is one such habit. This habit is a reflex action in children but goes away by age 2-4.

Always having your thumb in your mouth can cause changes in the shape of the jaw and also cause the teeth to move apart. Persistent thumb sucking leads to what is called open bite, and this can cause difficulty in speaking. Tongue thrusting is another common habit that creates an open bite.

Another detrimental habit is breathing through the mouth. It can initially begin as a result of a medical condition but can quickly become a habit. Mouth breathing causes abnormal growth in the upper and lower jaw, and this can result in severe orthodontic problems.

Several orthodontic procedures are useful in treating these health impeding habits. Early treatment will prevent extensive damage from occurring. Scheduling your child for an orthodontic examination will help reveal any problem so that treatment can commence as soon as possible.

Learn more about the dangers of thumb sucking in children.

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