Early age orthodontic treatment is an essential practice in medicine. If your teeth are not aligned correctly, it can lead to problems speaking or chewing, easily damaged or hard-to-clean teeth, and jaw and joint pain. Complications with your teeth or jawbone are corrected before they can cause you long-term health problems through braces, elastics, and headgear.
Doctors recommend that children receive the early orthodontic treatment they need as soon as possible while their face and jaw are still growing. Should you wait too long, any complications they have will become harder and more expensive to fix in the future, if not flat out impossible.
That’s why early orthodontics is critical.
Children typically receive orthodontic treatments like braces at 12 or 13 years old. It ensures that all of the child’s deciduous teeth (or baby teeth) have fallen out, and their permanent adult teeth are erupting.
However, it is advisable to begin your child’s early orthodontic treatment at an even younger age if their dental problems are too severe. This dilemma is where early age orthodontic treatment comes in. Many young patients require early interceptive orthodontic treatment to prevent future health complications around 6 or 7 years old.
Before any early orthodontic treatment, your orthodontist will make records of your child’s teeth using X-rays and sometimes molds. They will look back on them as treatment progresses.
Children may go through two phases of early orthodontic treatment.
The first early age orthodontic treatment phase starts while your child still has most baby teeth. Its goal is to ensure that adult teeth have enough space to erupt correctly. It may require a limited set of braces, space maintainers, or functional/expansion appliances. Baby teeth may need extractions to create adequate space.
After a resting period to allow teeth to grow naturally, the second phase of early orthodontic treatment begins when your child has most adult teeth. It usually entails a complete set of braces and a retainer to be worn indefinitely after the braces come off. This phase is longer than the first, and its goal is to keep your child’s teeth healthy for life.
Most children wear their braces for 18 to 36 months. Try to remind your child how important it is to wear rubber bands and headgear. If they do not, they could wear their braces even longer or render their early age orthodontic treatment useless.
It’s always best to take preventative measures when it comes to your little one’s oral health. Call us today at (706) 291-2550 to talk to your dentist about whether early orthodontic treatment is right for your child.