Early Treatment

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Though an orthodontist can enhance a smile at any age, there is an optimal time period to begin treatment. Beginning treatment at this time ensures the greatest result and the least amount of time and expense. The American Association of Orthodontists recommends that the initial orthodontic evaluation should occur at the first sign of orthodontic problems or no later than age 7.

Why is age 7 considered the optimal time for screening?

By the age of 7, the first adult molars erupt, establishing the back bite. During this time, an orthodontist can evaluate front-to-back and side-to-side tooth relationships. If there is a problem with these relationships, it can usually be treated at an early age. Lateral problems (crossbites) are always treated early.

The presence of erupting front teeth can indicate possible overbite, open bite or crowding. At this early age, orthodontic treatment may not be necessary, but vigilant and timely screening can anticipate the most advantageous time to begin treatment, increasing the chance for an incredible smile.

What are the benefits of early orthodontic evaluation?

Early evaluation provides both timely detection of problems and greater opportunity for more effective treatment. Prudent intervention guides growth and development, preventing serious problems later. When orthodontic intervention is not necessary, an orthodontist can carefully monitor growth and development and begin treatment when the timing is ideal.

Our doctor takes a conservative approach when determining if a patient needs an early phase of treatment. In most cases, no early treatment is recommended, but this is a patient by patient decision. If needed, early treatment is usually six to fourteen months in duration. If early treatment is not indicated, we will monitor a child every 6-12 months.