Children tend to have permanent teeth come through between the age of 6 and 7. At this time their teeth and jawbone are still developing. This is the best time to assess them for potential dental issues which early orthodontic treatment could address. It is recommended children have an orthodontic screening before turning 7.
While this may seem very young, you will see more young children today with braces than in the past. And dentists have good reason to advise parents to get their children evaluated at this young age.
Early Intervention Treatment
As the permanent teeth come through — and while the jawbone is still growing — there is an opportunity to correct oral conditions such as crowding. Previously the answer was purely to extract some teeth to allow enough room.
Now, where a child’s dental arch may be too small, a palatal expander can be used to take advantage of the still-developing jaw to correct the arch. This allows the teeth a better chance to emerge correctly.
Similarly, corrective treatment can be applied if the dental arch and jaw are not correctly positioned. More orthodontic treatment, including braces, may still be required later as part of a two-phase treatment plan, yet the second phase should be of shorter duration than it would otherwise have been.
Making Braces More Accepted
Modern braces are less visible when fitted and less uncomfortable than they used to be. With more children wearing them there is less of a stigma attached as they have become more socially accepted.
There are still certain elements which can be frustrating, such as food trapped between the brackets and wires of the braces. The braces still require more time to clean when brushing and flossing.
However, children get to pick the colours of the bands on the wires now, helping them to feel more included in the process. The colours also make the braces more fun to wear. Yet they do still take time to get used to. There can be some discomfort at first, but this can be addressed with over-the-counter pain relief, if required.
Early orthodontic treatment may not be suitable for all dental conditions. But for issues such as a crossbite or protruding front teeth, it can be very beneficial. It can help the jaw to evenly develop and help better position the permanent teeth as they come through. This should reduce the difficulty and duration needed for further corrective treatment later, including the wearing of braces.
Help your child think about the results — the straight teeth and nice smile they will have. The child will grow up with greater self-confidence which helps in all aspects of life. Giving your child a great smile is the best possible start.