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When are children old enough for intervention orthodontic treatment?

Many parents wonder when whether their child could benefit from orthodontic treatment. Our Collingwood dentists provide insight and advice about what signs to watch for and how early orthodontic treatment can benefit children's health.

What is the best age to begin orthodontic treatment?

Every so often, a concerned parent will ask us for advice about when they should consider orthodontic treatment for their child. This may be because they anticipate orthodontic issues coming up for their children as a result of hereditary factors, or because they are currently noticing symptoms that give them cause for concern.

The fact is that every child is unique in terms of development, age, treatment needs, and other factors - and each of those things has a bearing on whether their child is a candidate for orthodontic treatment. The ideal time for kids to start orthodontic treatment will depend on the specific orthodontic issue (example: misalignment of teeth and bite) and the degree of it's severity.

Until recently, dentists and orthodontists wouldn’t typically treat children until all of the adult teeth had erupted, when the child is about 12 to 14 years old. This strategy often meant extractions were required in order to leave space for other teeth to shift as they needed to during treatment.

Today, the approach has changed and thanks to interceptive orthodontics, treating children's orthodontic issues can begin anywhere from 7 to 11 years of age. Beginning othodontic treatment while the child's smile is still developing, can allow dentists and orthodontists to correct bite and misalignment issues before they fully develop, keep more of your child’s permanent teeth, and have a positive early impact on their oral health.

With interceptive orthodontics for children, orthodontic appliances (not strictly braces) can be used while a child still has some of their baby teeth. Once the child’s adult teeth erupt, we can begin a second phase of orthodontic treatment.

What are early signs of orthodontic problems?

With interceptive orthodontic treatment, we can treat misalignment issues before they develop into larger problems. This may also benefit children’s oral health. Treatable issues include:

  • Overly crowded teeth (one or both jaws would need to be expanded)
  • Early removal of specific baby teeth to encourage permanent teeth to erupt correctly
  • Maintaining space for permanent teeth to come in after premature loss of baby tooth
  • Misaligned teeth
  • Extreme tongue thrust habits
  • Protrusion of front teeth

What are the advantages of interceptive treatment?

Early interceptive orthodontic treatment may have any of the following benefits:

  • Crowded teeth have room to emerge
  • Risk of trauma as a result of protruding front teeth is reduced
  • Decreasing need for tooth extraction
  • Reducing treatment length
  • Reduced need for more extensive treatment later in life

Our dentists at Collingwood Dental Centre can examine your child’s teeth to find out whether your child is a candidate for interceptive orthodontics. Depending on the nature and severity of the case, we may refer your family to a trusted orthodontist, or take on the treatment ourselves. Treatment options will depend on your child’s needs and may include braces, a retainer, an appliance, or some combination of these.

If your child can benefit from an orthodontic intervention, we will explain how treatment can positively impact your child’s development, then explain treatment options and answer any questions you may have.

Do you think that your child could benefit from an orthodontic intervention? Contact our Collingwood dentist today to book a consultation.

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