Timing plays a crucial role in every aspect of life, and your child’s orthodontic treatment is no exception.

The American Association of Orthodontists (AAO) advises parents to schedule their child’s first orthodontic check-up when an orthodontic problem becomes apparent, but no later than the age of 7.

Wondering why age 7 is the magic number? Well, by this age, your child generally has enough permanent teeth for an orthodontist to assess the developing teeth and jaws, which can become apparent in subtle ways even in very young children.

What is early intervention?

Early intervention, also known as interceptive treatment, involves addressing orthodontic issues at a young age, usually while some baby teeth are still present.

But just because your child has an initial check-up at 7 doesn’t mean he or she will go home in braces! That first check-up usually leads to one of three possible outcomes:

  1. No treatment is currently necessary.
  2. Treatment will likely be needed in the future, but it’s not time to start yet. Let’s continue to monitor on an annual basis as the face and jaw continues to develop.
  3. Early treatment is recommended to address an existing problem.

When is early intervention recommended?

While some orthodontic problems are best addressed after all permanent teeth have emerged, early treatment can be beneficial for issues that may worsen over time if left untreated. The goal is to intercept the developing problem, eliminate its cause, guide facial and jaw bone growth, and create sufficient space for incoming permanent teeth. In some cases, a second round of treatment may be needed after all permanent teeth are in place to optimize their positions.

Orthodontists may recommend early treatment for problems such as:

  1. Underbites – when lower front teeth are ahead of upper front teeth.
  2. Crossbites – when the jaw shifts to one side.
  3. Very crowded teeth.
  4. Excessively spaced teeth.
  5. Extra or missing teeth.
  6. Abnormal teeth alignment or non-alignment.
  7. Thumb-, finger-, or pacifier-sucking affecting teeth or jaw growth.

These orthodontic issues can be inherited or result from accidents, dental diseases, or abnormal swallowing. [See more here: Common Orthodontic Problems]

What sort of treatment is used in early intervention?

Early orthodontic treatment can take various forms. Orthodontists may prescribe fixed or removable appliances to move teeth, change jaw positions, or hold teeth in place for desirable changes. In some cases, no appliances are necessary, and the removal of certain baby teeth may aid the eruption of permanent teeth. The timing of extractions is carefully planned to leverage a patient’s growth and development.

Regardless of the treatment approach, the key takeaway is that addressing orthodontic problems early can make correction easier. Waiting until all permanent teeth have erupted or facial growth is nearly complete may complicate the correction of some issues.

How much does an initial consultation cost?

Your child’s initial consultation is complimentary. We will examine your child’s mouth, take a few x-rays, and give you our recommendations. If treatment is recommended, we will clearly lay out a treatment timeline and all related costs. [See more here: Financial Information]

Contact Jones & DeShon Orthodontics

We would be happy to have the opportunity to perform an initial evaluation of your child’s teeth and jaw to determine whether he or she would benefit from early treatment. Contact us through our website form, email us at info@davidjonesorthodontics.com or call us at (276) 638-8888.