At what age should I schedule an appointment for an orthodontic screening?

At what age should I schedule an appointment for an orthodontic screening?
Posted on 06/10/2016

Little Girl SmilingOrthodontics are a common course of treatment for young people. Although traditionally braces are used to treat adolescents, younger children can also be treated. Earlier orthodontic screenings can allow your child to begin treatment earlier, allowing for better long-term results.

Scheduling the First Orthodontic Appointment

Your family dentist will monitor the progress of your child’s dental development, using visual examination and X-rays. If it looks as if teeth will emerge in the wrong position or in the wrong place, your dentist might recommend a consultation with an orthodontist. During this consultation, your orthodontist will determine whether it would be better to begin treatment right away or to wait until the permanent teeth arrive.

This early appointment can help you prevent numerous long-term problems with your child’s teeth. Your orthodontist can recommend a course of action based on the current condition of your child’s mouth and what is likely to happen when the permanent teeth arrive. If it looks like there won’t be enough room for the permanent teeth, he can recommend an approach to make additional room.

Why Have Early Orthodontic Treatment?

If the teeth that need to be moved haven’t emerged yet, why is early orthodontic treatment recommended? The answer is that, with early treatment, also called interceptive orthodontics, the mouth can be prepared ahead of time, or teeth can be guided into the correct position as they emerge. This saves on future orthodontic work. With early intervention, your child might be able to wear braces for a much shorter period, or even avoid them altogether.

Some treatments used in interceptive orthodontics include:

  • Palate expander to widen the palate and make more room
  • Space maintainers to hold spaces where baby teeth fall out too early
  • Removal of teeth to reduce crowding
  • Appliances to guide jaw growth

These techniques can help by ensuring teeth are less likely to come in misaligned, or with reduced malocclusion. Usually braces or other orthodontic treatments are used to complete the process, but early action often reduces the length and complexity of these later treatments.

If you have questions about braces for your child, contact us at Laredo Orthodontics today!