Early Orthodontic Treatment

The optimal time for active orthodontic treatment is when patients are in the puberty growth phase and when most of the permanent teeth have erupted.

Early treatment may be initiated to prevent more serious problems from developing.  This early intervention may make treatment at a later age shorter and less complicated.

Some early warning signs that may indicate your child should see an orthodontist:

  • Crowded or misplaced teeth
  • Protrusion (overjet)
  • Deep bite (overbite)
  • Early or late loss of baby teeth
  • Thumb and finger sucking
  • Speech difficulty
  • Difficulty in chewing or biting
  • Grinding or clenching of teeth
  • Jaws that shift or make sounds
  • Missing teeth
  • Signs of enamel wear

In specific cases it is however in the patient’s best interest to have an Early Orthodontic Treatment phase at approximately nine years of age.

It is advantageous in the following cases:

  1. When the normal growth is for instance negatively influenced by:
  • Anterior cross bite
  • Posterior cross bite
  • Thumb and finger sucking (These habits can cause protrusion of the upper incisor teeth and mouth breathing)
  • Tongue thrust habits with an anterior open bite
  • Nasal obstruction with mouth breathing and a narrowed maxillary arch
  • In these cases facial symmetry and harmony are created through influencing jaw growth
  1. When severe skeletal deviations are present:
  • In these cases early intervention can prevent future surgery.
  1. When primary teeth are lost resulting in severe loss of space:
  • In these cases creating space early on can prevent the removal of permanent teeth during the final phase of orthodontic treatment.

Within a period of sixteen months most of these problems can be addressed.  After a break of six months the final phase of orthodontic treatment can then be finalised.

Early evaluation therefor creates the opportunity to detect problems timely and then guide growth and development for the most effective treatment to accomplish future attractiveness of the face and smile.

Sometimes malocclusions are present behind seemingly acceptable smiles.  Early examination allows the orthodontist to detect and evaluate problems and plan effective treatment at an appropriate time and timely intervention can prevent discrimination against your child due to facial appearance.

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