Most people associate orthodontic treatment with the teenage years. However, early orthodontic treatment is also available to help children’s mouth and jaws grow and develop properly. Dr. Feinstein welcomes children to her office as soon as their first molars erupt to evaluate their oral growth and determine if early treatment will be beneficial for them.
When should my child first see an orthodontist?
The American Association of Orthodontists® (AAO) recommends that children have their first orthodontic valuation by the age of 7. At this age your child’s first molars will be erupting, allowing our orthodontist to identify and address any emerging issues while your child is still growing and developing.
What can early treatment accomplish?
Early orthodontic treatment, sometimes known as Phase One treatment, can help correct bite and alignment issues in children. This prevents more severe problems from developing as your child grows, and helps create a more stable foundation for any future orthodontic work (known as Phase Two treatment), which may occur during adolescence.
Some benefits of early treatment include:
- Creating space for crowded teeth
- Managing crowding issues to prevent the need for tooth extractions in the future
- Monitoring, guiding and correcting jaw growth
- Regulating the width of the upper and lower arches of teeth
- Eliminating or correcting bad bites early to prevent other bite, jaw or gum issues as well as possible dental trauma
- Correcting damaging oral habits, such as thumb and finger sucking
- Addressing aesthetic concerns
Will I be able to tell if my child needs orthodontic treatment?
Some orthodontic issues may be obvious, such as overcrowding or misaligned teeth. However, other issues may be much less apparent, which makes visiting Dr. Feinstein crucial. Our orthodontist can accurately assess your child’s needs through a thorough examination, including X-rays and bite analysis.
A few signs that your child may benefit from early treatment include:
- Problems chewing or biting properly
- Early or late loss of baby teeth
- Mouth breathing
- Thumb or finger sucking
- Extremely crowded teeth
- Teeth which do not come together, or which fit together abnormally
- A jaw that is disproportionate to the rest of your child’s face
Does every patient require orthodontic work at age 7?
No. The initial evaluation simply determines if treatment will be needed. Not every child will need to receive treatment this early. However, by ensuring your child receives this initial evaluation you can also ensure that their future treatment begins at precisely the right time to produce the best results for their oral health, function and smile. Our goal is always to do what is right for your child, and their treatment plan will be carefully designed to meet their individual needs.
What does early treatment entail?
Early orthodontic treatment is usually focused on ensuring proper jaw growth and development. The goal is to create an ideal environment for your child’s permanent teeth to erupt, which can greatly reduce their need for future treatment with braces or aligners, as well as help prevent the need for procedures such as tooth extractions or jaw surgery.
Schedule Your Child’s Appointment!
We invite you to call Feinstein 360 Orthodontics at 804-735-0365 today to schedule an appointment and learn more about early orthodontic treatment in Chesterfield, Virginia!