Early orthodontics refers to orthodontic treatment for children who still have a mix of baby and adult teeth. This proactive approach addresses developing dental issues at an early age, aiming to guide the growth of the jaw and create ample space for incoming adult teeth. The American Association of Orthodontists recommends that regular orthodontic checkups for children begin before the age of seven. There are several reasons for this early evaluation that we have outlined below.
At McKelvain Orthodontics, we recommend early orthodontic interventions to prevent more serious problems from arising as the child grows, potentially reducing the need for extensive orthodontic treatment in the future. During this phase, the treatment options offered by our orthodontist in Arlington and NRH, TX, may include braces, retainers, or other specialized appliances tailored to the child's specific dental needs, ensuring proper alignment and optimal oral health as they transition into adolescence and adulthood.
Common Orthodontic Issues in Children
Malocclusions occur when the upper and lower teeth do not meet correctly when the jaw is closed. Various malocclusions include overbites, underbites, crossbites, and open bites. These issues can lead to difficulty chewing, speaking, and maintaining proper oral hygiene.
Crowding happens when there isn't enough space in the mouth for all the teeth to erupt correctly. It can result in teeth overlapping or twisting, leading to a misaligned smile. Crowded teeth are challenging to clean thoroughly, making children more susceptible to tooth decay and gum disease.
Thumb Sucking and Other Oral Habits
Prolonged thumb sucking or using pacifiers beyond a certain age can impact the development of the teeth and jaw. Similarly, persistent oral habits like tongue thrusting and mouth breathing can lead to orthodontic issues, affecting the alignment of the teeth and the shape of the jaw.
The Benefits of Early Orthodontic Treatment
Children’s teeth are still developing at age seven, so it is easier to correct orthodontic issues. If left untreated, these problems can get worse over time and may require more invasive treatment later. Early orthodontic treatment in Arlington and NRH, TX, can prevent the need for extractions, surgery, or extensive treatment with braces later on.
Early treatment can also prevent overcrowding of the mouth, which can cause crooked teeth and misalignment. Overcrowding can cause permanent teeth to come in incorrectly, leading to bite problems and jaw pain.
Another benefit of early treatment is the prevention of speech impediments. When teeth are misaligned, it can affect the way a child speaks. This can lead to problems with pronunciation and even self-esteem issues.
Finally, early orthodontic treatment can improve the appearance of your child’s smile. Straightening their teeth can make them look more attractive and boost their confidence.
By addressing orthodontic issues in their early stages, we can prevent more severe problems and provide children with a solid foundation for a lifetime of healthy, confident smiles. If you have concerns about your child's dental development, visit McKelvain Orthodontics at 6505 Precinct Line Rd., NRH, TX 76182, or 4224 Little Rd., Arlington, TX 76016, or call (817) 427-0599 or (817) 572-4949 to explore early orthodontic treatment options and give your child the best chance at a bright dental future.