- Dr. Stephen Korson
- 115 Kent Place Blvd.
Summit, NJ 07901
- (908) 522-0640
Early Orthodontic Treatment for Children
What is the difference between early orthodontic treatment and regular orthodontic treatment and why might my child need early treatment? How will early treatment benefit my child in the long run?
These are just a few of the questions surrounding the topic of early orthodontic treatment for children. It is recommended that children have an orthodontic evaluation as soon as they begin to loose their baby teeth. Dr. Korson is continually assessing the orthodontic development of his patients and whether early treatment will be of value. Orthodontic problems don’t just appear at age twelve. There are many situations, such as crowding in the lower front erupting permanent incisors, where early treatment is of great advantage. This type of Phase 1 treatment often begins about age 7 or 8. The goal is to correct the growth of the jaws and thus improve the end results and reduce or eliminate the amount of treatment needed during the second phase when all the permanent teeth have erupted. The children do well with this approach and are happy that their later treatment will be shortened.
How to tell if your child may need early orthodontic treatment:
- Early or late loss of baby teeth (your child should typically start losing teeth around age five, and will have all their permanent teeth in around age 13)
- Difficulty chewing and/or biting
- Mouth breathing
- Your child continues sucking their thumb after age five
- Speech impediments
- Protruding teeth (the top teeth and the bottom teeth extend away from each other)
- Teeth that don't come together in a normal manner or even at all
- Shifting of the jaw when your child opens or closes their mouth (crossbites)
- Crowded front teeth around age 7 or 8
What causes orthodontic problems, and how will early prevention benefit my child?
Orthodontic problems such as crowding of the teeth, too much space between the teeth, jaw growth problems, protruding teeth, and bad bites may be inherited or may also result from injury to the mouth, early or late loss of baby teeth, or thumb sucking habits.
Orthodontic treatment is often shortened by early action when the problems first begin. The normalization of the bite and creation of more room where crowding exists will allow for more stable results and reduced treatment during the teenage years. Using and guiding the child’s ability to grow is a valuable tool that is eventually lost with age. Early treatment usually eliminates any need for extractions of permanent teeth and once again, usually shortens treatment later on.
Most children have lost all their baby teeth by age 13, and by the end of their teen years the jaw bones will harden and no longer continue to grow. Orthodontic procedures for adults often take more time and can involve tooth extraction and the possibility of oral surgery. As a child, receiving early orthodontic treatment can help prevent the need for orthodontics as an adult and leaves little to no chance of extraction or surgery in the future.
If your child is between the age of 6 to 8 and shows signs of needing orthodontic care, then contact our practice and schedule an appointment. Our team will provide your child with an initial exam and discuss with you the best steps to take toward caring for your child's smile.