Most people think of orthodontic treatment like braces as appropriate for adolescents. Recently, however, it’s become more common for younger patients to receive orthodontic screenings as well as treatment. Early orthodontic treatment can help reduce or even eliminate the need for braces when your child gets older.
Scheduling Your Child’s First Orthodontic Screening
According to the American Dental Association, a child’s first orthodontic screening should occur before age seven. If your dentist sees any developing issues before this, he might recommend an earlier screening. Having the orthodontist screen your child this early means any necessary work can begin right away.
Using X-rays and other examination techniques, the orthodontist will evaluate the position of your child’s teeth. If permanent teeth are positioned incorrectly in the gums beneath the baby teeth, they could come in crooked, crowded or misaligned. They could even become impacted and be unable to emerge at all. Early orthodontic treatment can make more room so the teeth can come in normally.
Deciding on Orthodontic Treatment
Based on the recommendation of your child’s orthodontist, you can decide if you should pursue early treatment either on its own or to be followed by long-term orthodontic treatment. Some common approaches to early orthodontic treatment include:
- Palate spreader
- Tooth extraction
These treatments aren’t intended to completely correct the issues with your child’s teeth. Instead, they make additional room in the mouth so permanent teeth are less likely to overlap or come in crooked. They can also help correct problems like crossbite, overbite, and underbite. Sometimes, this treatment is all that is necessary to ensure adult teeth are properly aligned.
Early orthodontic treatment doesn’t always eliminate the need for your child to see an orthodontist later, though. In fact, in most cases, early treatment serves as the first phase in a two-phase treatment approach, with the second phase consisting of traditional braces. However, early treatment can reduce the amount of time spent in braces.
Is your child old enough for a screening? Call us at Fleming Orthodontics today to schedule an appointment with our caring team!