When toStart Treatment
“I will prevent disease whenever I can for prevention is preferable to cure!”
-Hippocrates 400 BC
The American and Canadian Associations of Orthodontists suggest an orthodontic checkup by age 7. In our experience, age 8 is the ideal time. During this stage of growth, we can easily correct problems that may become more difficult to treat when the patient is older.
The Right Time to Start a Treatment
Orthodontic treatment can be started on certain types of tooth problems before all of the permanent teeth have erupted. Early treatment, usually begun after the four permanent upper and lower front teeth have erupted (ages 7-9), is recommended when any of the problems illustrated on this page are apparent.
For those patients who have indications for early intervention, early treatment presents the opportunity to:
- Influence jaw growth in a positive manner
- Harmonize the width of the dental arches
- Lower risk of trauma to protruded upper teeth
- Correct harmful oral habits
- Improve esthetics and self-esteem
- Simplify and/or shorten treatment time for later corrective orthodontics
- Preserve gain space for erupting permanent teeth
- Reduce the likelihood of impacted permanent teeth
Problems to Watch for In Growing Children
An overjet is a type of malocclusion or “bad bite”, that occurs when the top front teeth stick out past the bottom teeth, leaving a horizontal gap between the top and bottom rows of teeth.
Open bite is one kind of malocclusion or “bad bite”: when the top and bottom teeth don’t touch each other when the mouth is fully closed, showing an opening between the top and bottom teeth.
Deep bite is a malocclusion in which the upper row of the front teeth overlaps the bottom front teeth when the mouth is closed. It can affect a person’s ability to speak, breathe, and chew properly.
Rather than a proper bite, where the top teeth fit snugly over the bottom teeth with a very slight overbite, a crossbite or underbite occurs when the bottom teeth stick out past the top teeth, either in the front teeth or the back teeth.
The lower teeth biting in front of the upper teeth characterizes an underbite. An underbite is usually caused by undergrowth of the upper jaw, overgrowth of the lower jaw, or a combination of the two (Class III relationship).
Dental crowding occurs when teeth have competed for space in the mouth and have grown improperly, causing teeth to be twisted and misaligned. Dental crowding is one common issue that arises when teeth don’t grow in properly aligned