Many parents wonder when they should bring their children to see an orthodontist. Our Montreal orthodontists offer insight and advice on what symptoms to look out for and how early orthodontic treatment can benefit children's health.
When should kids begin orthodontic treatment?
Now and then, a concerned parent will ask us for advice on when they should bring their children to see an orthodontist. This could be because they anticipate orthodontic issues for their children due to hereditary factors, or because they are currently experiencing symptoms that worry them.
We respond that each child is distinct in terms of development, age, treatment requirements, and other factors. The best time for children to begin orthodontic treatment will depend on the specific orthodontic issue (for example, tooth and bite misalignment) and its severity.
Until recently, orthodontists would not typically treat children until they were in their adolescent years - 12 to 14 years old, after their permanent teeth had erupted. This strategy frequently necessitated extractions to make room for other teeth to shift as needed during treatment.
Today, the approach has shifted, and orthodontists are beginning to use interceptive orthodontics to treat children aged 7 to 11 years old. This allows us to correct orthodontic issues before they become serious, keep more of your child's permanent teeth, and have a positive early impact on their oral health.
Interceptive orthodontics for children allows orthodontic appliances (rather than braces) to be used while a child's baby teeth are still present. We can begin the second phase of orthodontic treatment once the child's adult teeth erupt.
What are the early signs of orthodontic issues?
With interceptive orthodontic treatment, we can treat misalignment issues before they develop into larger problems. This can also benefit children’s health. Treatable issues include:
- Overly crowded teeth (one or both jaws would need to be expanded)
- Early removal of specific baby teeth to encourage permanent teeth to emerge correctly
- Maintaining space for permanent teeth to come in after premature loss of baby tooth
- Misaligned teeth
- Extreme tongue thrust habits
- Protrusion of front teeth
What advantages does interceptive treatment offer?
Early interceptive orthodontic treatment may have any of the following benefits:
- Crowded teeth have room to emerge
- A Risk of trauma as a result of protruding front teeth is reduced
- Decreasing need for tooth extraction
- Reducing treatment length
- Reduced need for more extensive treatment later in life
Our orthodontists at Orthostyle can examine your child's teeth to determine if they are a candidate for interceptive orthodontics. We may refer your family to a trusted orthodontist or treat the case ourselves, depending on the nature and severity of the case. Depending on your child's needs, treatment options may include braces, a retainer, an appliance, or a combination of these.
If your child is a candidate for orthodontic treatment, we will explain how treatment can help your child's development, as well as explain treatment options and answer any questions you may have.