Hearing that your child should be evaluated for orthodontic treatment at the age of 7 can be a bit confusing. Most people associate orthodontic treatment with getting braces in middle or high school. While more common, treatment with braces is just one form of orthodontic treatment. Early orthodontic treatment takes place earlier in life, but that does not mean your child will be getting braces. Senestraro Family Orthodontics performs orthodontic evaluations and can provide your child with the early orthodontic care that they need to ensure proper growth and development.
Does Every Child Need Early Orthodontic Treatment?
An orthodontic evaluation is recommended for every child around the age of 7. This does not, however, mean that your child will need early orthodontic treatment. They may not even need braces later in life. The goal of the orthodontic evaluation is to assess your child's mouth and determine if there are any issues that should be addressed.
Signs of Needing Early Orthodontic Treatment
There a few signs that your child might need early orthodontic treatment. These signs include early or late loss of baby teeth, mouth breathing, thumb sucking or pacifier use past the age of 3 or 4, protruding teeth, and overcrowding at an early age. By dealing with these issues at an early age, your child is less likely to need braces later. The length of treatment may be less, or your child may not need braces at all.
Treatments Used in Early Orthodontics
The type of early orthodontic treatment your child receives will depend upon their specific situation. One common treatment is called a palatal expander. This is an appliance that works to enlarge the upper arch to ensure that there is sufficient space for the adult teeth. This helps to improve the likelihood of correct spacing and alignment as the adult teeth erupt.
If your child loses a baby tooth too early, there is a risk that the other teeth can begin to shift out of alignment. This can affect how the adult teeth grow in. Your child's adult teeth may come in crooked, resulting in overcrowding. The adult tooth under the missing tooth may not be able to erupt at all. To prevent these issues, a space maintainer may be recommended.
What Happens After Early Orthodontic Treatment?
After early orthodontic treatment, there is a resting period. During this time, your child's mouth is left to develop on its own. We may schedule your child for periodic visits so that we can monitor their growth and development. After the resting period, phase II can begin. This is the phase that involves treatment with braces. If your child undergoes early orthodontic treatment when it is needed, your child will likely spend less time in braces. Treatment with braces is also generally easier thanks to early orthodontics.
Just because an orthodontic evaluation is recommended at a young age, that does not mean your child will need early orthodontic treatment. However, if your child does need treatment, we can help to provide them with the care they need to ensure proper growth and development of their mouth. For more information, call Senestraro Family Orthodontics at (503) 925-3335 today.