Orthodontists today can successfully correct most problems regardless of the patient’s age. But that does not mean that the orthodontic treatment starting age does not matter. In fact it may play a significant role in the total time and expenses required for the completion of the orthodontic treatment.
Early intervention can make a dramatic impact on establishing the proper occlusal foundation. The American Association of Orthodontists (AAO) recommends that all children have a check-up with an orthodontist by the time they reach age 7, for early detection of any potential problems. By the age 7, some of the permanent teeth have erupted, so that most children have a mix of adult and baby teeth. At this stage of mixed dentition, we can spot potential orthodontic problems related to jaw growth and eruption of adult teeth. Some growth-related orthodontic problems are easier to correct when they are identified early while the facial bones are still developing.
An early exam allows us to determine how and when a child's particular jaw and/or dental problems should be corrected for the optimal results. Early treatment, or phase one therapy, may be needed to create a better environment to idealize the occlusion for the patient or possibly create an environment to elevate treatment forever. An early orthodontic examination does not always result in immediate treatment. After evaluating your child, we may simply want to monitor your child periodically while the permanent teeth erupt and the jaws and face continue to develop.