Who Needs Treatment?
When is the best time to begin orthodontics?
An orthodontist can enhance a smile at any age, however, there is an optimal time to undergo treatment.
The American Association of Orthodontists recommends that the initial orthodontic evaluation should occur at the first sign of orthodontic problems or no later than age 7. Orthodontic treatment may not be necessary at this early age, but early evaluation can get a baseline for growth, missing teeth, and tooth eruption.
Why is age 7 considered the optimal time for screening?
By the age of 7, the first adult molars have erupted, establishing the back bite. During this time, an orthodontist can evaluate the bite, tooth eruption, missing teeth, and growth. For example, the presence of erupting front teeth can indicate possible overbite, open bite, crowding or crossbites.
Timely screening increases the chances for a great smile. Prudent intervention guides growth and development, preventing serious problems later.
Some of the most beneficial results of early treatment include:
- Creating room for crowded, erupting teeth
- Reducing the need for permanent tooth removal
- Creating facial symmetry through influencing jaw growth
- Reducing the risk of trauma to flared front teeth
- Maintaining space for unerupted teeth if baby teeth are lost too early
- Reducing treatment time with braces after all the permanent teeth erupt
Are you a candidate for orthodontic treatment?
Orthodontics is not merely for improving the beauty of your smile; orthodontic treatment improves bad bites (malocclusions).
Malocclusions occur as a result of tooth or jaw misalignment. Malocclusions affect the way you smile, chew, clean your teeth or feel about your smile and should be corrected.
Why should poor bites be treated?
According to studies by the American Association of Orthodontists, untreated malocclusions can result in a variety of problems.
Crowded teeth are more difficult to properly brush and floss, which may contribute to tooth decay and/or gum disease.
Flared teeth are more susceptible to trauma. Crossbites can result in unfavorable growth and uneven tooth wear causing damage to the permanent teeth.
Openbites can result in speech problems and tongue-thrusting habits .
Ultimately, orthodontics does more than make a great smile—it creates a healthier bite that can last you a lifetime.