We always recommend that it’s best to start orthodontics early, but when exactly? Let’s cover the timelines of orthodontic evaluation and treatment in this article.
The American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry recommends that you bring your child to the dentist within 6 months of his/her first tooth, or at 12 months, whichever comes first.
1-7 years: Pediatric Dentist Watches Growth and Development
It’s also recommended your child get his/her first orthodontic evaluation no later than the age of seven. Rarely is anything done orthodontically before age 7 as the adult teeth aren’t slated to erupt until age 7. However, at or around age 7 some very large adult front teeth (incisors) replace some very small baby front teeth and this can frequently be problematic for youngsters.
7-11 years: Phase I/Interceptive Orthodontics
Around age 7 is a great time for an orthodontist to screen your child for developing problems and possibly provide your child with a solution in the form of a limited treatment called interceptive orthodontics. Your orthodontist can detect and prevent problems beforethey become problems.
Often (though not always), interceptive orthodontics eliminates the need for future orthodontic treatment. When it doesn’t eliminate the need for comprehensive treatment (“full braces”), it certainly makes it faster and easier.
Interceptive orthodontics are performed when a child is in the “mixed dentition” because your child would have a mix of baby teeth and permanent teeth. Treatment can correct malocclusions (overbites, underbites, crossbite) and dental alignment problems (crowding, crooked growth, shark teeth, blocked teeth, off-course teeth, etc).
The research on the value of early interceptive orthodontic treatment is overwhelming in demonstration of benefits. Young patients that are given the opportunity to develop in a more symmetrical and on-time way by creating jaws that can properly fit the teeth are much more likely to have simple comprehensive treatment during the adolescent years. In addition, extractions are much less likely and optimal facial growth is more likely. The hard and soft tissues of the mouth are so responsive to orthodontic and orthopedic correction at this time that success is almost guaranteed in the hands of board certified orthodontists.
Over 12 years: Comprehensive Orthodontics
This refers to comprehensive correction of alignment and occlusion (bite) problems and requires the full set of permanent teeth to create the final bite relationship. This treatment requires more time than interceptive orthodontics as everything has to be finished properly when the braces are removed for good. Here, we’ll place all the permanent teeth in the best positions to maximize appearance, function and protection and preserve the perfected smile with an appropriate retainer afterward.
About Pediatric Dentistry and Orthodontic Specialists of Michigan, the offices of Drs. Plunkett, Ralstrom, Makowski, Thanasas, Ker, and Associates
Pediatric Dentistry and Orthodontic Specialists of Michigan have specialized in pediatric dentistry and orthodontics since 1968. Our family-friendly and newly renovated office gives patients and families a more comfortable and consistent experience with dentistry from the very beginning. Our pediatric dentists treat children from newborn to 18 years of age while our orthodontists provide care for both children and adults and are proud to be Premier Providers of Invisalign and Invisalign Teen services. The ability to treat all patients with compassion and individuality, including those that may have special needs reaches beyond our facility, which has treatment rooms available for children who require additional privacy and customized care options. We pioneered valued hospital affiliations to allow dental services to be performed at DMC Children’s Hospital and St. John Macomb Hospital, when appropriate or necessary, and our specialists are also proud to be on staff at Henry Ford and Beaumont hospitals.