For many of our patients, we recommend treatment around ages 11-14, when all of the baby teeth are gone and many of the permanent teeth are in place. Sometimes there are conditions that are easier to treat when detected early as mentioned above during the initial evaluation at around 7 years of age. Your child’s natural growth processes are moving at full speed and the orthodontist is able to get results easier in these cases. Below are some examples where earlier treatment can really help the corrective process:
- Severe Crossbite: A condition where the upper teeth close inside the lower teeth. Your orthodontist will use a palatal expander to gradually and painlessly widen the upper jaw. Waiting too long complicates the treatment, many times causing the jaw to grow asymmetrical, even possibly creating a need for oral surgery – where one of the jaws is broken and moved into the correct position.
- Severe Crowding: Crowding occurs when the jaws are too small to accommodate all of the adult teeth. Palatal expansion may be utilized to create space for the permanent teeth to emerge from below the gums properly. Even if braces are needed later, the treatment time will be less complicated and likely shorter.
- Other problems, such as protruding teeth, which can lead to chipping and fractures can work against a child’s self-image. Even serious bite problems caused by the lower jaw growing much larger than the upper jaw are more easily corrected when treated early. This is especially important because the orthodontist can utilize appliances like braces and other appliances, that work well, instead of risky and often more painful surgery.