Orthodontics for Children
While there is no exact age for children to begin orthodontic treatment, the American Association of Orthodontists recommends visiting the orthodontist around age seven.
By this age, most children have a mix of baby teeth and adult teeth. Dr. Kathleen Tavarez will evaluate whether your child may benefit from early treatment.
Early treatment typically begins around age seven to nine and often yields results that would not be possible if treatment was delayed until eruption of all the permanent teeth.
Not all children will benefit from early orthodontic treatment. If Dr. Kathleen Tavarez feels that it is best to wait and treat your child at a later age, she will monitor your child in our complimentary growth and observation program until the appropriate time to start treatment.
The goals of early orthodontic treatment:
- To lay the foundation for a more ideal final treatment result that may not be possible once all the permanent teeth have erupted
- To work with growth to normalize the jaw discrepancies and improve facial esthetics
- To develop the jaws and sometimes avoid extractions of permanent teeth
- To improve the airway space if sleep apnea is a concern
- To avoid impactions of teeth
- To avoid jaw surgery
How to tell if your child may need early orthodontic treatment:
- Early or late loss of baby teeth
- Difficulty chewing or biting food
- Sleep apnea concerns
- Mouth breathing
- Finger or thumb sucking past age five
- Speech impediments
- Protruding teeth
- Crowded, misplaced, or blocked teeth
- Excessive spacing of the front teeth
- Jaws that pop or make sounds when opening and closing
- Bottom jaw is wider than the top jaw (crossbite)
- Teeth that come together abnormally, or do not come together at all
- Jaws and teeth that are not proportionate to the rest of the face
Please contact our practice to schedule an appointment for an orthodontic evaluation. Early treatment now will give your child a healthy, beautiful smile for the future.