Lots of parents ask us when their children should start attending orthodontic appointments. In this blog, our Barrie dentists discuss the signs to monitor for and when a child's health will start benefiting from orthodontic treatment.
When Kids Should Start Orthodontic Treatment
Occasionally, a concerned parent asks us when they should start taking their kids to orthodontic appointments. This might be because they anticipate arising orthodontic problems in their children due to hereditary factors, or because they are currently noticing concerning symptoms.
Our answer is that every child is unique in terms of development, age, treatment needs, and other factors. The ideal time for kids to start orthodontic treatment will depend on the specific orthodontic issue (example: misalignment of teeth and bite) and its severity.
Until recently, dentists and orthodontists wouldn’t normally treat children for orthodontic problems until they reached their adolescent years - 12 to 14 years old, once permanent teeth had erupted. This strategy often resulted in extractions being needed to make space for other teeth to shift as required during treatment.
Today, the approach has changed and dentists and orthodontists have started to use interceptive orthodontics to begin treating children anywhere from 7 to 11 years old. This way, we can correct orthodontic issues before they fully develop, keep more of your child’s permanent teeth, and have a positive early impact on their oral health.
With interceptive orthodontics for children, orthodontic appliances (not strictly braces) can be used while a child still has their baby teeth. Once the child’s adult teeth erupt, we can begin the second phase of orthodontic treatment.
The Early Signs of Orthodontic Problems
With interceptive orthodontic treatment, we are able to treat misalignment problems before they become larger issues. This can also benefit children’s health. Treatable issues include:
- Misaligned teeth
- Protrusion of front teeth
- Overly crowded teeth (one or both jaws would need to be expanded)
- Maintaining space for permanent teeth to come in after premature loss of baby tooth
- Extreme tongue thrust habits
- Early removal of specific baby teeth to encourage permanent teeth to emerge correctly
The Advantages of Interceptive Treatment
Early interceptive orthodontic treatment may have any of the following benefits:
- Reduced need for more extensive treatment later in life
- Crowded teeth have room to emerge
- Reducing treatment length
- Decreasing need for tooth extraction
- The risk of trauma as a result of protruding front teeth is reduced
Our dentists at Ferris Lane Dental can assess your child’s teeth to determine if they are candidates for interceptive orthodontics. Based on the severity and nature of the issue, we might refer you to a trusted orthodontist, or perform the treatment ourselves. The treatments used will be determined by your child’s requirements and could include braces, a retainer, an appliance, or some combination of these.
If your child can benefit from an orthodontic intervention, we will explain how treatment can positively impact your child’s development, then explain treatment options and answer any questions you may have.