Early Orthodontic Intervention
We understand that as a parent you may wonder when, and if, your child should see an orthodontist.
Early orthodontic intervention is helpful in determining whether your child has any problems with their jaw or teeth at a time when, developmentally, they may be easier to treat.
Orthodontics Australia recommends children from seven years of age should visit a specialist orthodontist for an assessment.
Seeing an orthodontist at this age allows us to evaluate your child’s existing and incoming teeth and determine if early treatment is necessary.
Earlier treatment can be financially beneficial, as correcting a potential problem before it eventuates can be less complex than delayed treatment.
For some children, early treatment can prevent physical trauma to the protruding front teeth and reduce emotional distress. Severely crowded teeth can also impact good oral hygiene.
How do we determine if early orthodontic treatment is necessary?
One of the ways we determine if early orthodontic treatment is necessary in a child aged eight to ten is through identification of a developing malocclusion (known as a “bad bite”). This could include crowding, deep bites, crossbites and open bites.
Early orthodontic treatment can assist in correcting more serious bite related problems, by guiding the jaw’s growth patterns and helping to make extra room in the mouth for permanent teeth as they come in.
It’s important to begin early orthodontic treatment while a child’s jaw bones are still soft, as the bones are still pliable, making corrective procedures faster and more effective than in teens and adults.
Appropriate early treatment is an effective pre-emptive measure that lays the foundation for a healthy and well-functioning mouth in adulthood.
How do you know when to take your child to see an orthodontist?
There are several ways you can determine if your child might need early orthodontic treatment.
If any of the following characteristics or behaviours are concerning you, call to speak with one of our friendly clinicians and we’ll organise an assessment for your child:
- Early loss of baby teeth (before age five)
- If your child’s teeth do not meet properly when biting
- Mouth breathing and/or snoring
- If your child’s front teeth are crowded (around age seven or eight)
- Protruding front teeth
- Biting or chewing difficulties
- A speech impediment
- If your child’s jaw shifts when he or she opens or closes the mouth
- If your child is older than five years and still sucks a thumb or finger.
If you think your child needs, or would benefit from, early orthodontic treatment, only a specialist orthodontist has the training, experience and expert knowledge to determine the most appropriate treatment options and the best time to start treatment.
When you see a specialist orthodontist you can be confident that your child is in the best hands.
Keep in mind, you won’t need a referral from a dentist to seek an assessment, so call us anytime to make an appointment.