There isn't a time limit on the benefits of straight teeth and a great smile. Everyone, young or old, can benefit. But there is a time - seven years old - that the American Association of Orthodontists recommends children should receive their first orthodontic evaluation. At this early age, orthodontic treatment may not be necessary, but vigilant examination can anticipate the most advantageous time to begin treatment.
Why is age 7 considered the optimal time for screening?
By the age of 7, the first adult molars erupt, establishing the back bite. During this time, an orthodontist can evaluate front-to-back and side-to-side tooth relationships. For example, the presence of erupting incisors can indicate possible overbite, open bite, crowding or gummy smiles.
For some, a timely screening will lead to significant treatment benefits; for most, the principal immediate benefit is a parent’s peace of mind.
benefits of early Evaluation
Early evaluation provides both timely detection of problems and greater opportunity for more effective treatment. Prudent intervention guides growth and development, preventing serious problems later. When orthodontic intervention is not necessary, an orthodontist can carefully monitor growth and development and begin treatment when it is ideal.
advantages of early treatment
For some patients, early screenings and treatment present the opportunity
- Creating room for crowded erupting teeth
- Influence jaw growth in a positive manner
- Harmonize width of the dental arches
- Improve tooth eruption patterns
- Correct harmful oral habits
- Improve esthetics and self-esteem
- Simplify and/or shorten treatment time for later orthodontics
- Reduce likelihood of impacted permanent teeth
- Reducing the risk of trauma to protruding front teeth
- Preserving space for unerupted teeth
Orthodontic treatment of malocclusions
According to studies by the American Association of Orthodontists, untreated malocclusions or bad bites can result in a variety of problems:
- Crowded teeth are more difficult to properly brush and floss, which may contribute to tooth decay and/or gum disease.
- Protruding teeth are more susceptible to accidental chipping.
- Crossbites can result in unfavorable growth and uneven tooth wear.
- Openbites can result in tongue-thrusting habits and speech impediments.
Ultimately, orthodontics does more than make a pretty smile – it creates a healthier you.