Orthodontics for Children
The American Association of Orthodontists recommends that an orthodontist see children by age 7 to evaluate for developing problems and to advise if orthodontic treatment is required. The first permanent molars and incisors have usually come in by that time and crossbites, crowding, and other problems can be evaluated. The growth and development of many children will allow orthodontic treatment to take place in one phase of treatment. However, some children require an early intervention phase to address specific problems. 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.