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Preventive & Early Orthodontic Treatment

Posted by Dr. Sky Naslenas On August 19, 2019

Early Orthodontic Treatment for Children

What is the difference between early orthodontic treatment, and regular orthodontic treatment and why might my child need early treatment? How will early treatment benefit my child in the long-run?

These are just a few of the questions surrounding the topic of early orthodontic treatment for children. The Canadian Association of Orthodontists recommends that children see an orthodontist as early as age seven. At this point Dr. Sky will evaluate whether your child will need orthodontic treatment.

Early treatment (also known as Phase I) typically begins around age eight or nine (Phase II will begin around age 11 or older). The goal of early treatment is to correct the growth of the jaw and certain bite problems, such as underbite. Early treatment also helps to make room for permanent teeth to come in properly, lessening the chance of extractions in the future.

How to Tell If Your Child May Need Early Orthodontic Treatment

  • Early or late loss of baby teeth (your child should typically start losing teeth around age five, and will have all their permanent teeth around age 13)
  • Difficulty chewing and/or biting
  • Mouth breathing
  • Thumb sucking after age five
  • Speech impediments
  • Protruding teeth (the top teeth and the bottom teeth extend away from each other)
  • Teeth that don’t come together in a normal manner or even at all
  • Shifting of the jaw when your child opens or closes their mouth (crossbites)
  • Crowded front teeth around age seven or eight

What Causes Orthodontic Problems? How Will Early Prevention Benefit Your Child?

Orthodontic issues such as crowding of the teeth, too much space between the teeth, jaw growth problems, protruding teeth, and bad bites can be inherited or caused by injury to the mouth, early or late loss of baby teeth, or thumb sucking habits.

Most children lose all their baby teeth by age 13, and by the end of their teen years, the jaw bones will harden and stop growing. Orthodontic procedures for adults often take more time and can involve tooth extraction or oral surgery. Receiving early orthodontic treatment as a child can help prevent the need for orthodontics as an adult, leaving little to no chance of extraction or surgery in the future.

If your child is between the ages of seven and eight and shows signs of needing orthodontic care, or if you have been directed by your family dentist to visit the orthodontist, please contact our practice and schedule an appointment. Our team will provide your child with an initial exam, and discuss with you the best steps to take toward caring for your child’s smile.

Direct Results of Early Orthodontic Treatment

Some of the most direct results of interceptive treatment are:

  • Creating room for crowded, erupting teeth
  • Creating facial symmetry through influencing jaw growth
  • Reducing the risk of trauma to protruding front teeth
  • Preserving space for unerupted teeth
  • Reducing the need for tooth removal
  • Reducing treatment time with braces

If you think your child or someone you know may needs early orthodontic treatment, call either of our locations to book a complimentary consultation with Dr. Sky.

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