When is the best time to begin orthodontics?
Although an orthodontist can enhance a smile at any age, there is an optimal time period to begin treatment. Beginning treatment at this time ensures the best result and the least amount of time and expense.
The American Association of Orthodontists recommends that the initial orthodontic evaluation should occur at the first sign of orthodontic problems, or no later than age 7. At this early age, orthodontic treatment may not be necessary, but vigilant examination can anticipate the most advantageous time to begin treatment.
What are the benefits of early orthodontic evaluation?
Early evaluation provides both timely detection of problems and greater opportunity for more effective treatment. Prudent intervention guides growth and development, preventing serious problems later and potentially enhancing the eventual attractiveness of the face and smile. When orthodontic intervention is not necessary, an orthodontist can carefully monitor growth and development and begin treatment when it is ideal.
Why is age 7 considered the optimal time for screening?
By the age of 7, the first adult molars erupt, establishing the back bite. During this time, an orthodontist can evaluate front-to-back and side-to-side tooth relationships. For example, the presence of erupting incisors can indicate possible overbite, open bite, crowding or gummy smiles. Timely screening increases the chances for straight teeth and a big beautiful smile.
What are the advantages of interceptive treatment?
Some of the most direct results of interceptive treatment are:
- Creating room for crowded, erupting teeth
- Creating facial symmetry and harmony through influencing jaw growth
- Reducing the risk of trauma to protruding front teeth
- Preserving space for unerupted teeth
- Reducing the need for the extraction of teeth
- Reducing treatment time with braces
- Detecting and treating harmful oral habits
- Possibly avoiding the need for full orthodontic treatment at a later stage
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