Benefits of early treatment
It’s natural to have questions about orthodontic treatment for your child, especially if its the first child to get braces in your family…
One of the most common questions we get asked is how early is too early to get braces? While people of any age can benefit from braces, The Australian Society of Orthodontists recommends children visit a registered specialist orthodontist for an assessment between the ages of 8-10 years old. This allows the orthodontist to evaluate your child’s teeth and determine if they may need early treatment. This includes existing teeth and those that are yet to break the surface.
Some people get confused about what early orthodontic treatment is. It’s treatment that takes place before braces, when a child is 8-10 years old. Your orthodontist will be able to identify abnormalities earlier in your child’s life, when their teeth and jaws are easier to manipulate. This is helpful for treating a variety of orthodontic problems such as protruding teeth, crowding, spacing and missing teeth, before more serious problems start to develop.
There are several ways you can determine whether your kid may need early orthodontic treatment. If you observe any of these characteristics or behaviours, you should see an assessment from a specialist orthodontist:
- Early loss of baby teeth (before age five)
- If your child’s teeth do not meet properly at all when biting
- Mouth breathing and/or snoring
- If your child’s front teeth are crowded (you generally won’t see this until the child is about seven or eight years old)
- Protruding front teeth
- Biting or chewing difficulties
- A speech impediment
- If your child’s jaw shifts when he or she opens or closes the mouth
- If your child is older than five years and still sucks a thumb or finger
Early orthodontic treatment begins while a kid’s jaw bones are still soft. They do not harden until children reach their late teens. As the bones are still pliable, corrective procedures work faster and more effectively than they do for teens and adults. Appropriate early treatment is an effective interceptive measure that lays the foundation for a healthy and well-functioning mouth in adulthood.
While your child’s teeth may appear aligned and straight, there could be underlying issues that need to be addressed to prevent more serious problems developing. Early intervention usually means that later orthodontic treatment will be more straightforward and completed in a shorter amount of time which can also be financially beneficial in the long run.
Typically the first permanent molars are present in the mouth, giving your orthodontist an opportunity to check for a developing malocclusion, also known as “bad bite.” Incisors have also usually begun to come in and problems such as crowding, deep bites, crossbites and open bites can be detected.
While people can get braces at almost any age, Orthodontics Australia recommends getting braces between the ages of 10-15 while there are some permanent teeth, but your child’s head and mouth are still growing. At this age, orthodontic treatment is the most effective, as your mouth and teeth and easier to straighten and align due to softer tissue.
If you think your child needs or would benefit from early orthodontic treatment, only a specialist orthodontist has the training, experience and expert knowledge to determine the most appropriate treatment options and the best time to start treatment. When you see a specialist orthodontist you can be confident that your child is in the best hands.