Many parents wait until all of their child’s permanent teeth have grown in before considering the need for orthodontic treatment. However, the American Association of Orthodontists recommends bringing kids in for an evaluation by the age of seven. That’s because some, more severe issues may occur before all the adult teeth have erupted. The following three conditions may require early orthodontic treatment:
- Crossbites. When your child bites down, his upper teeth normally sit over the top of his lower teeth. Crossbites occur when one or more of the upper teeth sit on the inside of the lower teeth, tilting toward the cheek or tongue. This may occur on either or both sides, the front, or back of the mouth. Crossbites don’t typically correct themselves, getting deeper with time and placing a lot of pressure on the jaw. Fortunately, correction is fairly easy, even with growing children.
- Severe Overcrowding. Baby teeth are space holders for secondary teeth. Severe crowding now may cause permanent teeth to become impacted or come in at the wrong angle later. Early treatment may include extraction and braces to guide the adult teeth to more desirable positions.
- Canine Impactions/Blocked Adult Tooth Eruption. Caused by overcrowding or other issues, impaction occurs when an adult tooth can’t pass fully through a child’s gums. This may be problematic, especially with the canines, which influence the correct function of all the teeth. Impacted canines may lead to cysts or the damage or loss of adjacent teeth.
With early orthodontic treatment, some kids will avoid potential problems that would lead to extended treatment later on. In addition, orthodontists claim that treatment while the jaws are still growing makes it easier to move the teeth and alter jaw structure.
Does all this mean it’s too late for mom or dad to get braces? Quite the contrary. According to the American Association of Orthodontists, 1 in 5 new patients is an adult.
*Contact Alameda and Pleasanton Pediatric Dentistry for a referral to a qualified orthodontist near you!