You may have noticed that children seem to be getting braces younger now than ever before. Well, actually you’re not wrong. You also may be thinking that “Young children’s braces is just another way for the orthodontists to make money!” In our office, at least, that couldn’t be further from the truth! At Wright and Feusier Orthodontics, we believe very strongly in prevention of future problems. Up until about 30 years ago, the prevailing opinion in the Dental World was “Wait until all the baby teeth are gone, and then go get braces.” While this may be valid in SOME cases, in many other instances, this way of thinking may be actually preventing kids from getting the best, and most appropriate orthodontic care. Let’s explore this idea.
At around age 11 or 12, the part of children’s mouths that support teeth are basically done growing. There is usually still much more growth to the SKULL, but as far as the area of the mouth that orthodontics can influence, what you have at about age 11 is pretty much what you’ll have for the rest of your life. Because of this fact, if a child needs modification of the structures of the MOUTH, the work needs to begin well before the age where the growth is completed. Let’s look at an example.
At about age 7 or 8 it is possible to tell whether a child is going to have enough room for all their adult teeth. If a child has a lot of crowding at this age, there are things we can do to modify the growth of the jaws to accommodate all of the permanent teeth. If treatment on a child with crowding is delayed until all the permanent teeth are in (around age 12 or 13), our options are much more limited, and often, the only solution to severe crowding is to have some of the permanent teeth extracted. This outcome is almost always preventable IF we can begin treatment just a few years earlier.
Examples of Problems Requiring Early Orthodontics
Crossbite of Front Teeth
2 Rows of Teeth
Crossbite of Back Teeth
In our office, Dr. Wright and Dr. Feusier are committed to offering the best treatment options for your child. If we see a child at age 7 or 8, and that child would NOT benefit from an early stage of orthodontics, we will ALWAYS tell you. We will never recommend unnecessary children’s braces or any other treatment, but will explain WHY either starting early, or waiting until all the permanent teeth come in, is the best plan for your child.
Some of the benefits of appropriate orthodontic treatment of children age 7-11 include:
- Increasing the width of the smile
- Improving self-confidence at an early age
- Increasing the airway for better breathing
- Prevention of unnecessary extraction of permanent teeth
- Elimination of habits such as thumb or lip sucking
- Prevention of excessive wear or damage to protruding teeth
- Eliminating the need for future jaw surgery
- Correction of jaw asymmetries that typically become permanent if treatment is delayed
While it is always possible to address and correct nearly any orthodontic problem–even in older children and adults–better results, fewer compromises, and more options are often available to you when children are treated before all the permanent teeth come in. The American Association of Orthodontists recommends that all children be screened by an Orthodontist by age 7, and so do we!
If you are unsure if your child would benefit from Early Orthodontics, please schedule a free consultation below, and we will be happy to help.