At Straight Orthodontics we are passionate about sharing the benefits of early orthodontic treatement with children and their parents.
As children grow, their teeth and jaw’s grow and move as well. It’s important for your child to see an orthodontist while they’re still growing rapidly, so your orthodontist can assess the existing and incoming teeth to decide if early treatment is necessary.
It’s never too late to start orthodontic treatment, but when it comes to your child, early treatment is very important. We recommend bringing your child in for their first orthodontic screening at age 7.
What makes early treatment so important?
There are many ways that your child can benefit from seeing an orthodontist. It’s important to know that early evaluation isn’t always followed by early treatment. If orthodontic work is needed, we simply monitor your child’s growth patterns until we see that there is a need for treatment. This gives us an opportunity to get the best results in the most efficient way, and to help prevent future problems.
Every child is different. In most children the first adult molars have typically started to emerge by around age six. This helps us get a handle on the basic alignment of the teeth, from side to side as well as front to back. It may also be possible at this point to determine whether there is enough room in the mouth for all the permanent teeth and, if not, to investigate different treatment options.
Is early treatment better?
Treatment for common orthodontic problems can begin anywhere from age 9 to age 14 or when all the baby teeth are gone and many of the permanent teeth are in place. There are some conditions that are much easier to treat if they’re caught at an early age, when a child’s natural growth process is on the right track.
One condition is severe crossbite. This is a condition where the teeth don’t properly align when smiling. The solution to this is a palate expansion device. This metal device is fixed to the upper back teeth and is used to gently widen the upper jaw. This treatment is very effective on children because their jaws haven’t fully developed.
Severe crowding can also be avoided by early treatment. This issue occurs when the jaws are too small to accommodate all the permanent teeth. Either palatal expansion or tooth extraction may be recommended at this point, to help the adult teeth properly emerge from the gums. Even if braces are required later, the treatment time will likely be shorter and less complicated.
Early intervention is helpful in resolving many other problems such as protruding teeth. This can often hinder a child’s self-confidence as well as be prone to damage. Conditions such as an underbite can be very uncomfortable when chewing food and smiling, so taking care of it as a child is much easier than fixing it as an adult.
Correcting bad habits
Correcting bad habits from a young age is much easier than waiting until adulthood. Some common bad habits that affect your oral health are thumb sucking, mouth breathing and by firmly pressing your tongue against certain teeth throughout the day.
Thumb sucking is quite natural for young children. If it continues to a later age, your child may realign their jaw and force the teeth to move out of place. This can lead to an orthodontic problem called “open bite,” which may impair speech. An open bite can also be caused by the force of the tongue thrusting forward against the teeth. Constantly breathing with your mouth wide open may also cause the upper and lower jaw to grow abnormally, which can lead to serious orthodontic problems. Although mouth breathing may start from a physical difficulty, it can become a habit that’s hard to break.
At Straight Orthodontics we offer many different treatment options to help correct or prevent any of these bad habits, which may affect your oral health. But these habits leading to problems aren’t always easy to recognise. Therefore, it is important to bring your child in for an early orthodontic screening.
Early Orthodontic Treatment in Mentone, Melbourne
If you want to learn more about early treatment, or you are ready to book an appointment, contact our team today!