Some parents may not be thinking of orthodontic treatment as early as first grade, but it helps to get ahead of the curve and harness your child’s natural growth to aid the process. Timing plays an important role in the success of orthodontic treatment. From the initial consultation all the way through the completion of the case, timing and growth are playing their part in the development of your child’s smile.
Overcrowding and Spacing
One of the more common concerns that brings new patients into our office is crowding of teeth. We see patients as young as 6 or 7 during an older sibling’s appointment if a parent has a concern. Usually the concern is over teeth that look crowed when they erupt or have large spaces between them. If you notice your child’s teeth are coming in at a slant or one behind the other, those issues may not self correct. Make an appointment so we can assess the situation and determine when intervention is needed.
Similar to overcrowding, spacing concerns should not be ignored. If you notice gaps or if it appears that the space for new teeth to come in is too small, make an appointment. If the patient is still growing, we can guide the growth in such a way that braces alone will solve the problem. If the patient is older and growth cannot be leveraged, other interventions may be required in addition to braces, such as tooth extraction.
Obscuring or Protruding
Other concerns arise if the front teeth stick out excessively, or if the front teeth are obscured by the bottom front teeth. These concerns can indicate not only a problem with the teeth, but also with the jaw relationship. Some of these concerns are best addressed earlier rather than later to prevent injury, guide jaw alignment and tooth eruption.
“I always get a better result when orthodontic therapy is used in a growing patient,” Dr. Piper said. “A large part of the science of orthodontics is guiding jaw and tooth position.” The process takes time, typically between 12-18 months. Dr. Piper will move teeth as quickly as is safe to do physiologically. Moving teeth too fast can cause harm to the roots and surrounding tissue.
If your child is just beginning to lose teeth, don’t wait for the dentist to tell you it’s time to see an orthodontist. If you are proactive now, you can reap the rewards of working with your child’s natural growth for a better result.
While early intervention is best, there isn’t a definitive threshold for orthodontic treatment. We see both children and adults in our office. If you have any questions or concerns please give us a call at 756-4316.