Early Orthodontic Treatment
Early treatment, or interceptive treatment as it is commonly known, presents a range of benefits to the patient. Allowing for an orthodontist to make an early assessment of your child’s teeth will help determine whether treatment may be necessary.
How to know if your child needs orthodontics.
According to the Australian Society of Orthodontists, children should have their first assessment between the ages 7-10. Many parents are unaware that you do not need a referral from a dentist to book an appointment with an orthodontist, which means you can bring your child in for an assessment at your discretion. There are some clear characteristics you can identify yourself which may signal your child is in need of a consultation. These include:
- Crooked teeth
- Consistently biting their cheeks or the roof of their mouth
- Crowding of teeth or abnormal gaps between teeth
- Difficulty in biting and chewing
- Underbites or overbites
- Speech impediment
- Thumb sucking past the age of 5
- If their teeth do not meet when biting
Why is it important to receive a consultation at a young age?
As early as 7, your permanent molars begin to be present in your mouth, which can give evidence as to the formation of a ‘bad bite’. Your incisors also become visible and their position can signal ‘crowding’, ‘cross bites’, ‘open bites’ and ‘deep bites’ are beginning to develop. Whilst your child may come in for their initial consultation at the ages 7-10, treatment does generally not begin for another 1-5 years. This period can give you time to plan, consider different treatment options and educate your child as to the orthodontic process.
Alternatively, waiting until their teenage years for a consultation you can miss the opportunity to correct certain problems at the right time, which can be costly. As your child reaches their mid to late teens, their jaw bones begin to harden. As the bones are no longer as pliable, corrective procedures work slower and are less effective than they would be for a child. Therefore, foregoing early consultation will mean a more invasive and costly treatment plan may have to be implemented.
Benefits of Early Treatment
Your child’s personal development can benefit from early treatment. Correction of protruding teeth can minimise risk of teeth being chipped or damaged, and can help prevent psychological and emotional distress associated with low confidence or teasing. In some cases, early treatment can minimise further treatment or greatly simplify treatment that may be required in future.
Regardless of how old you are and how long you may have had tooth or jaw irregularities, we believe the benefits of early treatment are available to you. At Orthodontist’s Exclusively early treatment is treatment now not later.