Orthodontics for Children
Why an orthodontic exam by age 7?
- First permanent molars erupt at age 6-7
- By this age, it is important to evaluate the position of the teeth and the relationships of the upper and lower jaws
- Problems can be identified by this age, and explained to patients and their parents:
- Protrusive teeth
- Dental crowding
- Lack of space for permanent teeth
- Narrow upper arch
- Open Bite
- Facial asymmetry
- Oral habits (including thumb-sucking)
The Canadian Association of Orthodontists (CAO) and the American Association of Orthodontists (AAO) recommend that all children receive a first evaluation from an orthodontist by age 7.
Why intervene and treat at an early age?
- To minimize the severity of problems during growth and development
- To improve the position of the maxilla and/or mandible
- To correct and improve the width of the maxilla
- To create space for permanent adult teeth (which are larger in size)
- To decrease the possibility of extractions in the future
- To treat problems with tooth eruption
- To regain space for eruption of permanent teeth
- To decrease the possibility of impacted or ectopic teeth
- To correct and monitor thumb-sucking habits
- To correct certain mouth-breathing problems
- To improve self-confidence and esthetics
Orthodontic treatment at an early age is certainly not required for all patients. However, such treatment may decrease the possibility of future orthodontic treatment, and will provide for a simpler and more efficient future treatment.
In the end, the result will be an optimal orthodontic experience and a beautiful smile.