When it comes to your child’s orthodontic treatment, timing is crucial. Early therapy, sometimes known as “interceptive” treatment, is performed while some baby teeth are still present.
The American Association of Orthodontists (AAO) recommends that your child see an orthodontist for the first time when an orthodontic problem is discovered, but no later than age 7. Why the age of seven? Your child will have enough permanent teeth by then for an orthodontist to evaluate the developing teeth and jaws, which can provide a wealth of information. Even in young children, AAO orthodontists are equipped to detect small issues.
While many orthodontic issues are best handled after all permanent teeth have grown in, early treatment may be in a patient’s best interests if their problem would worsen over time if left unchecked. The goal of early therapy is to catch the problem early, eradicate the cause, guide the growth of the facial and jaw bones, and give appropriate room for incoming permanent teeth. After all permanent teeth have arrived, a patient may require a second course of therapy to reposition those teeth into their optimal placements.
Some orthodontic issues are genetic, while others may be the result of an accident, tooth illness, or incorrect swallowing.