Much debate lives among orthodontic professionals between early orthodontic
treatment (ages 7 to 9) and traditional orthodontic intervention (11+ years
old). The American Association of Orthodontists endorses that all
youngsters should be evaluated by a Houston dentist or orthodontist at
the age of seven.
The early phase (Phase 1) begins around age 8 or 9. This phase involves
straightening the front permanent teeth and creating space for the remaining
permanent teeth that erupt at age 12. This reduces the future likelihood
of extracting permanent teeth. In addition, if there is a jaw-growth problem,
or bite problem such as overbite or underbite, correction is also done
during Phase 1.
Your child may need to be assessed even earlier than seven years old
if your family Houston dentist recommends an orthodontic evaluation. Thumb
sucking, pacifier, tongue thrust and mouth-breathing are habits that may
also need early intervention. Early
orthodontic treatment may be needed to aid in speech therapy.
The following early signs may be helpful to detect orthodontic
problems in your child:
at your childís teeth. If you see crooked teeth, gaps between the teeth or
overlapped teeth, your child may need orthodontic treatment.
your child to bite all the way down, keeping their lips open. Do the front
top teeth line up with the bottom? Do the top teeth protrude out away from
the bottom teeth? Do the top front teeth cover more than 50% of the bottom
teeth? Are the top teeth behind the bottom teeth? If you see any of these
conditions an orthodontist should evaluate your child.
at the alignment of your child's jaw. Does the jaw shift off center when
your child bites down? If you see any malalignment or shifting of the jaw,
your child may have a skeletal problem.
Other common signs include:
or late loss of primary teeth
in chewing or biting
or thumb sucking habits beyond age 5
the cheek or roof of the mouth
that donít meet in a normal matter, or donít meet at all
Note: These are only some of the
more obvious signs. Other signs may be much more subtle and require a trained
professional to detect.
Some important facts supported by the orthodontic literature about
jaw growth are:
- Dental arch (width) increases an average of 3mm from 5 to 10 years old.
10 years old the width of the dental arch does not increase, although, it
tends to decrease.
of the dental arches is not always possible after the ages of 13 in girls
and 15 in boys.
at an early age is a reliable and stable procedure. Expansion also
decreases the possibility of teeth becoming impacted during their eruptive
extraction of baby teeth is not recommended since it only provides a
temporary solution to the lack of space.
Our Houston braces office believes in early intervention in cases where there may be concerns of abnormal jaw development, posterior and anterior crossbites, large overbite, insuficient space in dental arches or congenitally missing teeth. Interceptive orthodontic therapy promotes orthopedic development of the jaws. This may remove, or decrease, the need for extractions, lengthy orthodontic treatment or jaw surgery at a later time.
Moreover, bullying is endemic among schoolchildren, and the effects can
be devastating and long lasting. The persistently bullied kid shows a definite
psychological type, with poorly developed social skills and a submissive
nature. Physical appearance acts a major role in bullying. Teasing related
to dental appearance is hurtful. Fortunately, there is evidence of a marked
increase in self-confidence following early orthodontic treatment in youngsters.