Early Treatment

It is never too late to begin orthodontic treatment as an adult. When it comes to a child’s teeth, however, the truth holds in the opposite way: Earlier may be better than later. In fact, the American Association of Orthodontists recommend for kids to have their first orthodontic screening at age 7, even if actual treatment doesn’t begin for another few years. At Travers Orthodontics, we are committed to determining the best plan of treatment for our patients, and for our youngest, getting started early may be the most effective course to take.

Early Identification And Preparation

Even if orthodontic treatment isn’t required early on for your child, undergoing an evaluation at a younger age will help us monitor your child’s teeth by identifying development markets and growth patterns. Although every child’s development is different, most kids will see their first adult molars begin to emerge by around age 6. We may be able to even tell if there is adequate room in the mouth for all of the permanent teeth. If not, that will be our cue to take action.

Benefits Of Treating Problems Early

Treatment for common orthodontic problems typically begins around ages 9 to 14, when all the baby teeth are gone and many of the permanent ones are in place. However, there are benefits for treating certain conditions if they are caught even earlier, especially when it comes to treatment time and complications. Continue reading to learn more about how these issues can be prevented.

  • Severe crossbite is a condition where many or all of the upper teeth close inside the lower teeth. A device called a palatal expander can be used to gradually and painlessly widen the upper jaw. This treatment is most effective when the jaw hasn’t fully developed at a younger age. Otherwise, a more complicated treatment, including oral surgery, may be required to correct the issue.
  • Severe crowding occurs when the jaws are too small to accommodate all of the permanent teeth. Palatal or tooth extraction may be required to help the adult teeth erupt (emerge from below the gums) properly. 
  • Protruding teeth and severe underbites can be corrected by braces and, if required, other appliances such as headgear. Undergoing treatment while the child’s development is in full swing can decrease the likelihood of surgery.

  • Identifying And Correcting Bad Habits

    Bad habits are a dime a dozen, but there are certain parafunctional (outside normal function) habits that can influence the development and function of a youngster’s teeth, jaws, and mouth. 

  • Thumb sucking and tongue thrusting can result in an orthodontic problem called the “open bite.” While the sucking reflex is natural in early childhood and disappears between ages 2 and 4, there are instances where the habit persists beyond those years. The pressure of a digit on the front teeth and upper jaw can cause the teeth to move apart and affect the shape of the jaw, leading to an “open bite” that could impair speech. Open bites can also be caused by the constant force of a tongue pushing forward against the teeth.

  • Mouth breathing is an abnormal breathing pattern in which the mouth always remains open while passing air directly to the lungs. This habit is related to alterations in the muscular function of the tongue and face, and it may result in abnormal growth for both upper and lower jaws. Mouth breathing may stem from a physical difficulty, but it may become a habitual action that is difficult to break.

    Contact Us Today For An Early Start

    It’s never too early for your child to see an orthodontist. Early preparation means better preparation and treatment, and various orthodontic treatments are available to help correct bad parafunctional habits before they result in too much damage. Contact us at Travers Orthodontics by calling (972) 910-8202 or use the online appointment form to visit us at our Irving location.