At what age should a child have an orthodontic examination?
The American Association of Orthodontists recommends that most children should have an orthodontic screening by age 7. This allows us to evaluate if orthodontic treatment will be required and the best time for the patient to be treated. Many of the dentists in our community have been trained to identify orthodontic problems early, and may refer you to Dr. Cochran earlier than age 7.
Why are children being evaluated at such an early age?
Early diagnosis and treatment can guide erupting teeth into a more favorable position, preserve space for permanent teeth, and reduce the likelihood of fracturing protruded front teeth.
If early treatment is indicated, we can guide the growth of the jaw and guide incoming permanent teeth. Early treatment can also regulate the width of the upper and lower dental arches, gain space for permanent teeth, avoid the need for permanent tooth extractions, reduce the likelihood of impacted permanent teeth, correct thumb-sucking, and eliminate abnormal swallowing or speech problems. In other words, early treatment can simplify later treatment
In addition to better-looking teeth, what are some other benefits of orthodontic treatment?
Braces can improve function of the bite and teeth, improve ability to clean the teeth, prevent wear on the teeth, and increase the longevity of natural teeth.
Does early treatment benefit all children?
Early treatment does not necessarily benefit all children. Certain types of orthodontic problems can be more easily and efficiently corrected in the teen years when all the permanent teeth have erupted, while still other orthodontic problems should not be addressed until growth is more advanced or completed. Dr. Younger and Dr. Groesbeck develop a plan for treatment based on each individual child’s needs.
If a child has treatment early, will this prevent the need for braces as an adolescent?
Early treatment can begin the correction of significant problems, prevent more severe problems from developing, and simplify future treatment. Because all of the permanent teeth have not yet erupted when early treatment is performed, all the permanent teeth have not been corrected. Typically, a second comprehensive phase of treatment in the teen years, after all the permanent teeth have erupted, completes the correction.
Do we still need to see our family dentists if we’re already seeing Dr. Cochran?
Patients with braces and other orthodontic appliances require more effort to keep their teeth and gums clean. Because we want to insure the highest level of dental health, they will require you to see your family dentist for regular check-ups and cleanings.