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The Most Suitable Age for Early Orthodontic Treatment

By September 18, 2021November 1st, 2022No Comments

All parents, especially those who have experience with their own teeth being straightened, are concerned about whether their children will need orthodontic treatment.

Orthodontists like Dr. Song have years of additional training and experience using a wide variety of tools and techniques to help patients with every kind of challenge, including teeth coming in crooked or crowded. Like every adult, each child’s oral health condition is different and, depending on whether preventive measures or treatments are early enough and aftercare is effective, a negative outcome can be avoided.

The second most common disease is cavities (only colds are more frequent), but periodontal disease (the infection of the gums that can cause loss of teeth) is the bigger issue. Anyone whose permanent teeth do not come in perfectly will likely have regular dental problems, especially if they are not taught how to brush and floss effectively from an early age.

The usual age to bring in a child to Dr. Song for a full exam is seven, when enough permanent teeth have generally emerged to allow her to assess what may need to be done to maintain optimum oral health. But some children can already be at that stage at six, while others may not have adult teeth coming in until eight.

A digital full-mouth x-ray will be necessary. This involves minimal radiation and is necessary to be able to see the underlying jawbone from which the teeth are emerging and into which they are rooted. Dr. Song will be able to see if there is already an underbite, overbite, or crossbite (a misalignment of the upper and lower arch). She can note if the jaw is small and if this will likely result in crowded teeth, which are hard to keep clean of cavities and periodontal bacteria. The first permanent teeth may be coming in crooked or there may be gaps between them. Dr. Song will probably need to take a mold of the child’s teeth to study before recommending orthodontic treatment.

If preventive measures need to be taken for the little patient’s future oral health, children’s braces are generally the most effective approach, especially for complex cases, and they can now be made of a clear material. Children also need to be taught the proper way to brush and floss when wearing braces, as well as the importance of avoiding sticky and hard foods, which can damage braces (which typically take a couple of years to prevent a lifetime of trouble).

In some milder cases, Invisalign could be applicable. As part of this treatment, clear plastic aligner trays are worn, which can be taken out when eating or drinking, so there would be no dietary restrictions. The trays gradually move the teeth into the correct positions while remaining unnoticeable and preventing the need for brackets or wires.

Set an appointment today with Dr. Song to assess your child’s orthodontic needs. The earlier that orthodontic issues are caught, the easier they are to treat. Having braces at a young age, while it can be an inconvenience, sets your child up for a bright future of straight, easy-to-clean teeth. If they need an open bite fix, crossbite fix, or underbite fix, we can address those issues right away. We look forward to giving your child a sparkling smile.

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