Early Treatment (7-12 years old)
Malocclusions, like those illustrated below, may benefit from early diagnosis and referral to an orthodontic specialist for a full evaluation.
Before End of Phase 1
Crossbites can result from orthopedic problems or functional shifts. Ectopic tooth eruptions can also contribute to an anterior crossbite. For the patient on the left, the upper teeth erupted posterior to the lower teeth. This could be a dental or an orthopedic problem. This may damage the teeth and cause problems with the gingival tissue. Anterior crossbites should be corrected early to avoid damage to the teeth and gums.
With protrusion, the upper jaw is often exessively ahead of the lower jaw. This is sometimes referred to as the cause of excessive overjet or “buck teeth." Here, the jaws are actually out of alignment. This problem can be treated by redirecting the eruption of teeth while the jaws continue to grow in the child or adolescent to reduce the risk of trauma to protruding teeth.
Children, adolescents, and adults can benefit from treatment. It all depends upon individual circumstances to determine the most ideal time to begin treatment. The American Association of Orthodontists recommends that every child visit and orthodontist by age seven, unless a problem is evident earlier. This can simplify or even eliminate the need for full orthodontic treatment later. Early treatment is designed to encourage jaw growth and correct problems early. Even if a problem is detected, immediate treatment may not be recommended. Sometimes the orthodontist will take a “wait-and-see” approach-checking your child from time to time as the permanent teeth come in.
Other conditions that can also benefit from Orthodontic treatment at 7 years include: