Though an orthodontist can enhance a smile at any age, there is an optimal time period to begin treatment. The American Association of Orthodontists recommends that the initial orthodontic evaluation should occur at age 7. Early evaluation provides both timely detection of problems and greater opportunity for a more effective treatment. When orthodontic intervention is not yet necessary, Dr. Gilbert will carefully monitor growth and development of your child and begin treatment only when it is ideal. There is, of course, no age limit for orthodontic treatment. Both children and adults benefit from treatment. Orthodontic treatment not only improves the health of your teeth and gums but can dramatically improve personal appearance and self-esteem in all ages.
The Benefits of Early Treatment
For those patients who have clear indications for early intervention, early treatment presents the opportunity to:
- Influence jaw growth in a positive manner
- Harmonize width of the dental arches
- Improve eruption patterns
- Lower the risk of trauma to protruded upper incisors
- Correct harmful oral habits (thumb or finger sucking)
- Improve aesthetics and self-esteem
- Simplify and/or shorten treatment time for later corrective orthodontics
- Reduce likelihood of impacted permanent teeth
- Improve some speech problems
- Preserve or gain space for erupting permanent teeth
What if I put off treatment?
The disadvantage of waiting for complete eruption of permanent teeth and having only one phase of treatment for someone with a jaw discrepancy is facing the possibility of a compromised result that may not be stable. The goal of first phase treatment is to develop the jaw size in order to accommodate all the permanent teeth and to relate the upper and lower jaws to each other. Children sometimes exhibit early signs of jaw problems as they grow and develop. An upper and lower jaw that is growing too much or not enough can be recognized at an early age. Because they are growing rapidly, children can benefit enormously from an early phase of orthodontic treatment utilizing appliances that direct the growth relationship of the upper and lower jaws. A good foundation can be established, providing adequate room for eruption of all permanent teeth. This early correction may prevent later removal of permanent teeth to correct overcrowding and/or surgical procedures to align the upper and lower jaws.
Contact Dr. Gilbert today to learn how we can improve the health and appearance of your child.