Orthodontic treatments are really important no matter how old you are. Also called as interceptive orthodontics they can begin as early as age 6 or 7. At such a young age the teeth are still developing. All of that could mean less treatments later if everything is well taken care of. The goals of early orthodontic treatment are: correct bite problems such as an under bite, guide the jaw growth pattern, help to make room in the mouth to make sure the permanent teeth are properly placed, … all of this can prevent or keep the risk of needing extraction due to teeth crowded.
Before permanent teeth have come in, it may be possible to help teeth to erupt (emerge through the gums) into better positions. It’s common, for example, for the dental arch to be too small to fit all of the teeth.
Here are several ways you can determine if early treatments are needed:
- Early loss of baby teeth (before age five)
- Late loss of baby teeth (after age six or seven)
- The child’s teeth do not meet properly or at all
- The child is a mouth breather
- Front teeth are crowded (you won’t see this until the child is about seven or eight)
- Protruding teeth, typically in the front
- Biting or chewing difficulties
- A speech impediment
- The child’s jaw shifts when he or she opens or closes the mouth
- The child is older than five years and still sucks a thumb
Orthodontic problems such as crowding of the teeth, too much space between the teeth, jaw growth problems, protruding teeth, and bad bites can be inherited or caused by injury to the mouth, early or late loss of baby teeth, or thumb sucking habits.
Most children have lost all their baby teeth by age 13 and by the end of their teen years the jaw bones will harden and no longer continue to grow. Orthodontic procedures for adults often take more time and can involve tooth extraction and the possibility of oral surgery. As a child, receiving early orthodontic treatment can help prevent the need for orthodontics as an adult, leaving little to no chance of extraction or surgery in the future.
Early orthodontic treatments at our Ottawa office are very beneficial for children. The main reason why it’s so important to start at an early age: the child’s jaw bones are still soft. Because the bones are still pliable, corrective procedures such as braces work faster than they do for adults. Treatments are also an effective preventive measure for a healthy and stable oral health.