At what age should a patient first be seen?
Nowadays, patient's can successfully undergo orthodontic treatment to correct the imperfect alignment of their teeth (malocclusions) regardless of their age. That's not to say that the starting age for treatment is irrelevant, because it can still affect the amount of time and money it will take to complete.
Every patient is different, so it is important that you book an orthodontic evaluation with us as soon as possible so that we can best advise you when would be the best time for you to begin treatment.
When to visit
It is recommended that children see an orthodontist by the time they are 7 years old. At this age most children have a mixture of adult and baby teeth and an orthodontist will be able to spot any problems that may be occuring. A lot of growth-related problems are easier to correct when the facial bones are still developing, so identifying the problems as early as possible is beneficial.
Immediate treatment may not always be advised if a problem is found. In most cases the orthodontist will recommend check up appointments every 6 months to monitor the growth of the jaw and movement of the teeth.
Despite very few orthodontic problems needing to be corrected at such a young age, it is regarded as the perfect time to assess the condition of your children's teeth and determine whether any treatment is needed.
At what age can you start orthodontic treatment?
Until recently, only teenagers undertook orthodontic treatment once their permanent teeth had erupted. But nowadays treatment can begin in:
Childhood - Certain problems are easier to address when starting treatment at an earlier age, such as overcrowding. Treatment at this age allows an orthodontist to guide your child's teeth in to place while their jaw is still growing
Teenagers - Orthodontic treatment is most effective at this age because most jaw growth has finished and all of the permanent teeth will have erupted
Adults - Because the jaw has finished growing and the teeth have stopped moving, treatment times are longer than usual.
Benefits of early orthodontic treatment
An orthodontic evaluation at an early age helps the orthodontist formulate the misalignment of any teeth in the most cost and time effecient way.
By starting a child's treatment at an early age, the orthodontist is able to take advantage of facial bone growth and guide teeth through into their optimum position.
An early course of treatment can help prevent more serious problems occuring in the future and make future treatment shorter and less complicated.
Not all orthodontic problems require early treatment. But, there are numerous cases in which it can help to:
- Minimise the need for permanent extractions
- Prevention of more serious problems developing
- Jaw growth can be guided to a more favourable size, shape and direction
- Minimise the need for jaw surgery
- Lower risk of to any protruding front teeth
- Reduce treatment cost, complexity and time in the future