When your child grins, does it reveal a mouth full of crooked teeth? Do their permanent teeth seem to be growing in adjacent to one another? Or perhaps your child has an underbite or overbite that causes them pain or insecurity.
Well, breathe a sigh of relief because all of the aforementioned issues — plus many more — are common and easily treatable with orthodontic treatment. While it is always wise to be on top of your child’s healthcare, it is important to note that there is such thing as your child being too young for orthodontic treatment.
Experts have done extensive research on the proper time to begin your child’s journey with orthodontics. While it always varies on a case-by-case basis, there are some general tips to know:
At What Age Should You Begin Your Child’s Treatment?
I suggest you bring your child in for an orthodontic screening by eight years old. I call this “Phase 1 treatment,” and it is used to screen for difficult orthodontic problems that can be corrected BEFORE braces and which can simplify future orthodontic treatment times, cost, and procedures (such as extractions of permanent teeth or even surgery in some limited cases).
While some parents may want to straighten teeth at a young age, the purpose of Phase 1 treatment is to address foundational concerns of jaw alignment and creating space for permanent teeth to come into the arch. After these foundational concerns are met the child should be ready for a fairly straight forward “Phase 2” or comprehensive orthodontic treatment (i.e braces).
Is there Such a Thing as “Too Young” When for Orthodontic Work?
Parents can have braces put in on Phase 1 for two reasons:
- To accomplish the above goals (jaw alignment, creating space for permanent teeth); or,
- To align teeth for reasons important to those children on parents who would like straight teeth early. A number of factors push some families to straighten teeth early (including but not limited to financial situations, self-consciousness, or just wanting to get treatment over with).
The American Dental Association states that children can begin orthodontic treatments at seven years old. If you believe your child should start earlier, allow me, Dr. Elizabeth Haynes, to evaluate the situation.
If you are ready to begin your child’s journey to a more beautiful smile, schedule your free consultation today at 301-302-8395. Our office serves the Greenbelt and Bowie, MD area as well as Washington, D.C., Anne Arundel County, and Montgomery County.