Orthodontists today can successfully correct most problems regardless of the patient's age. But that does not mean that the orthodontic treatment starting age does not matter. In fact it may play a significant role in the total time and expenses required for the completion of the orthodontic treatment.
Early intervention can make a dramatic impact on establishing the proper occlusal foundation. The American Association of Orthodontists (AAO) recommends that all children have a check-up with an orthodontist by the time they reach age 7, for early detection of any potential problems. By the age 7, some of the permanent teeth have erupted, so that most children have a mix of adult and baby teeth. At this stage of mixed dentition, we can spot potential orthodontic problems related to jaw growth and eruption of adult teeth. Some growth-related orthodontic problems are easier to correct when they are identified early…while the facial bones are still growing.
An early exam allows us to determine how and when a child's particular jaw and/or dental problems should be corrected for the optimal results. Early treatment, or phase one therapy, may be needed to create a better environment to idealize the occlusion for the patient or possibly create an environment to elevate treatment forever. An early orthodontic examination does not always result in immediate treatment. After evaluating your child, we may have them join our kids club, Benton's Benchwarmers, while we periodically monitor their growth and development.
Most orthodontic problems are ideally treated during this time. Usually, all or most permanent teeth are erupted and patients are at one of their most active phases of growth. This is a great time to correct most problems, as the jaws are actively growing and their growth can be most easily modified during this time. In order to minimize patient involvement during the treatment process, we will work very hard to maximize ideal treatment goals with our adolescent patients.
Healthy teeth can be moved at any age, and it is never too late to improve your smile. Our team works with all of our adult patients to achieve the adult patients' individual concerns.