Not every parent thinks about the need for early orthodontic treatment. Typically, they only start to consider braces or Invisalign when their kids reach their pre-teen or teen years. But there are many reasons why it’s a good idea to start orthodontic treatment earlier if your child needs it.
What Is Early Orthodontics?
For most kids, starting orthodontic treatment during middle school or high school is the best way to go. But some can greatly benefit from starting treatment earlier, around age seven or eight. At the very least, you should take your child to the orthodontist at this age to get an assessment.
During the exam, your orthodontist will be able to tell if your child needs early orthodontics. If so, your child will be prescribed a relatively short treatment with an appliance, partial braces, or Invisalign First that will prepare them for a second phase of treatment if needed after their adult teeth have erupted.
Signs Kids Need Early Orthodontics
How can you tell if your kid could benefit from early intervention? Even before you bring your child to the orthodontist, you may already be seeing some signs. If your child loses their baby teeth too early or too late, it can affect the shape of their jaw. Thumb-sucking past the age of three or four can also lead to problems with the jaw that will need correcting early on. If your child has difficulty breathing, speaking or eating, or experiences jaw pain, these are all signs that they may need early orthodontic treatment.
There may also be underlying issues that aren’t noticeable, so it’s always best to have an orthodontist monitor your child’s oral development. Many offices provide this service free of charge until treatment is necessary.
Why Getting Early Orthodontic Treatment Makes Sense
Getting early orthodontic treatment around the age of seven or eight is a sensible way to avoid bigger problems in the future. Kids at this age have jaws that are more malleable since they are still growing. Whether due to external factors, bad habits, or simple genetics, they may need early intervention to avoid needing more serious treatments later in life, such as an extended period with braces, tooth extractions, or jaw surgery.
Not only can starting treatment early be easier on your child, it can also be easier on your finances. Fixing problems earlier can make later treatment less extensive, and therefore less expensive.
Early Orthodontic Treatments
If it’s decided your child could benefit from early orthodontics, there are several treatment options. One of the most common is a palatal expander. This device is attached to the roof of the mouth and expands the upper jaw to make room for erupting adult teeth and to fit the upper jaw properly over the lower jaw.
Another great early orthodontic treatment option for kids is Invisalign First. Just like the conventional Invisalign treatment, these clear aligners are removable and fit precisely over the surface of the teeth. Kids are amazingly responsible when it comes to using the aligners, and they often find them more comfortable to wear.
Schedule a free consultation here at Milnor Orthodontics today to learn more about early orthodontics and to see if your child could benefit from early intervention.