Why Orthodontics for Children?
The Canadian Association of Orthodontics and the American Association of Orthodontics recommend that a child's first visit to the orthodontist occur no later than 7 years of age. It is quite likely that no treatment will be indicated at that time. Some problems tend to improve with natural growth and development. Other problems that may not self-correct, if detected early, are much easier to address than if left until full dental development.
By age 7, the first permanent molars and incisors have usually come in. We will start to see a general pattern in dental and facial development that can be indicative of potential problems. Occlusal (bite) imbalances, cross bites, crowding and facial disproportions can often be detected by this time.
Examples of problems benefiting from early orthodontic treatment include:
- Pre-mature loss of baby teeth that can lead to loss of space for the permanent teeth.
- Delayed loss of baby teeth that can interfere with the eruption of the permanent teeth.
- Mouth-breathing that can interfere with the development of the upper jaw.
- Breathing or swallowing imbalances that can interfere with normal dental development.
- Thumb, finger or soother sucking habits that can cause an open bite or excess overjet (bucked teeth).
- Imbalances that cause the jaw to un-naturally shift during function.
- Excess protrusion of the upper front teeth that can greatly increase the risk of injury to these teeth.
- Under-bite, caused by an imbalance in the growth of the upper and lower jaws.
Narrow upper jaw that can result in a cross-bite of the baby and permanent teeth.