At what age should a child first visit the orthodontist?
The American Association of Orthodontists recommends that a child receives his or her first orthodontic screening by age 7. By starting treatment early, Dr. Hillarie Ryann Hudson and Dr. J. Michael Hudson are able to recognize potential problems and correct them before they become more serious. This will save you and your child time and money by preventing future problems before they begin.
Why are children being evaluated at such an early age?
Early interceptive orthodontic treatment has proven to be beneficial for the overall desired result. Because a young child’s permanent teeth have not finished erupting, we are able to thoroughly evaluate and address any impending problems at the earliest stage.
During your child’s initial evaluation, we will first determine if there are any problems that need to be addressed, such as potential crowding, open bite, overbite or gummy smiles. The Phase I treatment plan can include preventive, interceptive or modifying treatment. Orthodontic appliances may be placed to prevent a problem from occurring, correct a current problem or help direct jawbone growth. Multiple problems with tooth alignment, gums, jaws and facial problems can be corrected with Phase I treatment.
Does early treatment benefit all children?
Early treatment does not necessarily benefit all children. Certain types of orthodontic problems can be more easily and efficiently corrected in the teen years when all the permanent teeth have erupted. Some skeletal orthodontic problems should not be addressed until growth is more advanced or completed. The doctors develop a plan for treatment based on each individual child’s needs. If the doctor decides the patient is not ready for treatment, they are placed on our orthodontic supervisory program. But, it’s still essential that a child is at least evaluated around age 7.
If a child has treatment early, will this prevent the need for braces as an adolescent?
Early treatment can begin the correction of significant problems, prevent more severe problems from developing, and simplify future treatment. Because all of the permanent teeth have not yet erupted when early treatment is performed, their final alignment may not have been corrected. Typically, a shortened comprehensive phase of treatment (Phase II – full braces) in the teen years, after all the permanent teeth have erupted, completes the correction.
To find out if your child is a candidate for early interceptive treatment, schedule a consultation.