The American Association of Orthodontics (AAO) recommends that all children be seen by an orthodontist by age 7 yrs old, to evaluate if orthodontic treatment is required and when the best time for the patient to be treated. The first permanent molars and incisors have usually come in by that time and crossbites, crowding, and other problems can be evaluated. When treatment is begun early, the orthodontist can guide the growth of the jaw and guide incoming permanent teeth. Early treatment can also regulate the width of the upper and lower dental arches, gain space for permanent teeth, avoid the need for permanent tooth extractions, reduce likelihood of impacted permanent teeth, correct thumb-sucking and eliminate abnormal swallowing or speech problems. In other words, early treatment can simplify later treatment.
Early signs to look for...
- Early or late loss of baby teeth
- Difficulty in chewing or biting
- Thumb/Finger sucking
- Crowding, misplaced or blocked out teeth
- Teeth that meet abnormally or not at all