There are several ways that kids can benefit from seeing an orthodontist at an early age. But it's important to recognize that early evaluation isn't necessarily followed by early treatment; in most cases, orthodontic work is not needed and we simply monitor your child's growth and permanent eruption until we see the need for treatment. This gives us an opportunity to prevent future problems and to get the best results in the most efficient way.
When Earlier Treatment Is Recommended
There are some conditions that need to be treated at an early age, when a child's natural growth processes are going full speed ahead.
- Crossbite: It is a condition where the upper teeth close inside the lower teeth. To treat this problem, a device called a palatal expander can be used, which gradually and painlessly widens the upper jaw; it's especially effective when the jaw itself hasn't fully developed.
- Severe crowding: This occurs when the jaws are too small to accommodate all of the permanent teeth. Either palatal expansion or tooth extraction may be recommended at this point, to help the adult teeth erupt (emerge from below the gums) properly. Even if braces are required later, the treatment time will likely be shorter and less complicated. Protruding teeth: especially in front, can be prone to chipping and fractures; they may also lead to problems with a child's self-image.
- Underbite: They are caused by the lower jaw growing much larger than the upper jaw, can result in serious bite problems. Orthodontic appliances, including braces and headgear, can be successfully used to correct these problems at this stage, when the child's development is in full swing, thereby increasing the chances that surgery can be avoided