At what age should a child first visit the orthodontist?

The American Association of Orthodontists recommends that most children should have an orthodontic screening by age 7. This allows Dr. Hayley Woolfson and Dr. David Dubiner to determine if orthodontic treatment is the best option for the patient and the best time to start it. Many of the dentists in our community have received specialized training to identify orthodontic problems early and may refer you to our office earlier than age 7.

Why are children being evaluated at such an early age?

Early diagnosis and treatment can guide erupting teeth into a more favorable position, preserve space for permanent teeth, reduce the likelihood of fracturing protruded front teeth, and promote a more favorable growth pattern.

If early treatment is necessary, Dr. Dubiner and Dr. Woolfson can guide the growth of the jaw and incoming permanent teeth. Early treatment can help children with the following:

  • Regulating the width of the upper and lower dental arches,
  • Gaining space for permanent teeth,
  • Reducing the likelihood of impacted permanent teeth,
  • Avoiding the need for future permanent tooth extractions,
  • Correcting habits such as thumb sucking,
  • Eliminating abnormal swallowing or speech problems.

In other words, early treatment can simplify later treatments after all the permanent teeth erupt. Don’t hesitate to contact our Onshore Orthodontics.

early orthodontics

Does early treatment benefit all children?

Early treatment does not necessarily benefit all children. Certain types of orthodontic problems can receive more effective corrective treatment in the teen years when all the permanent teeth are out. Experienced orthodontists also know to wait a little longer to treat some skeletal orthodontic problems until growth is more advanced or completed. The doctors develop a treatment plan based on each child’s needs. If the doctor decides the patient is not ready for treatment, they will place the child in our Onshore Observation program.

What is the Onshore Observation Program?

The Onshore Observation program is for patients who are not ready for orthodontic treatment and have been placed on recall. This program enables us to monitor actively the eruptive pattern of the permanent teeth and assess periodically a patient’s readiness for treatment. Sometimes, unfavorable eruption patterns of permanent teeth will require corrective treatment with the early removal of specific baby teeth. This can help reduce the treatment time required for braces in the future. We will notify your general dentist of any recommendations made during your visit. We normally see the patients on recall every 6-8 months to observe their progress as they grow. There is no fee for this program, and it helps the orthodontist determine the optimum time to begin treatment and achieve the best possible result for your child.

early orthodontics

In addition to a beautiful new smile, what are some other benefits of orthodontic treatment?

Braces can improve the function of the teeth and bite, improve access and ability to effectively clean the teeth, prevent wear on the teeth, and increase the longevity of natural teeth over a lifetime.

If a child has treatment early, will this prevent the need for braces as an adolescent?

Early treatment can begin the correction of significant problems, prevent more severe problems from developing, and simplify future treatment. Because all permanent teeth have not yet erupted when early treatment happens, their final alignment may not have received all the required corrections. Typically, after all the permanent teeth have erupted, a shortened comprehensive phase of treatment (Phase II – full braces) in the teen years completes the correction. However, further orthodontic treatment may no longer be necessary for some circumstances.

Do we still need to see our family dentist during orthodontic treatment?

Patients with braces and other orthodontic appliances require more effort to keep their teeth and gums clean. To ensure the highest level of dental health, we recommend you continue to see your family dentist for regular check-ups and cleanings every 6 months during treatment. In certain situations -adult patients in particular- we may recommend more frequent visits and cleanings with your dentist.

 

FAQ

 

What causes orthodontic problems?

Most malocclusions are inherited, but some are acquired. Inherited problems include crowding of teeth, too much space between teeth, extra or missing teeth.

What are the benefits of early orthodontic treatment?

Early orthodontic treatment in Yulee Early is a great way to spot any problems within your child’s developing mouth and treat them before they turn into lifelong problems

When is the best time to begin orthodontics?

The best age to receive your first orthodontic consultation is typically around age seven. However, it’s never too late to work towards a straight and healthy smile.

What are the early symptoms of orthodontic problems?

If you notice or experience any of the following teeth that are visibly crooked or crowded, difficulty flossing between and brushing around crooked teeth, and frequently biting your tongue or cutting your tongue on your teeth, you could benefit from early orthodontic treatment.

Is orthodontic care expensive?

The cost of orthodontic care can vary depending on many different factors, such as the type of braces and the dental issue that needs correction.