The ideal time to start orthodontic treatment is as soon as an issue is spotted, but ideally before age seven. In the vast majority of cases, the earlier treatment is started, the quicker, easier and more effective it will be. Correcting issues early will optimize not just the child’s teeth but their health and their appearance. The best results will come if red flags are spotted and treatment commences before all baby teeth are lost and the jaws are still growing.
So how do you spot issues that might require orthodontic treatment?
Some of the more obvious signals such as crowded, protruding or misplaced teeth are easily spotted by parents. However, as few orthodontic issues are genetic and there are a number of indicators that are tough to spot, parents may not always notice the signs. Some things to keep an eye out for include:
- Upper and lower front teeth that don’t meet when the child bites together.
- Premature or delayed loss of baby teeth.
- Jaws that seem out of proportion and create an unbalanced appearance.
In addition to this there are habits that can cause of problems with how the teeth and jaws develop, such as:
- Keeping the mouth open at rest
- Clenching and grinding teeth
If you notice any of these issues in your child, call an orthodontic expert. An X-ray will be able to determine any overcrowding, impacted or missing teeth even before they have erupted, and the movement and growth of the jaw can be targeted to correct over and under-bites caused by mouth breathing, thumb-sucking, or incorrect tongue placement.
As well as ensuring that the adult teeth grow in straight, early orthodontic treatment can optimise the facial structure and appearance of the growing child. Young children have their greatest growth potential ahead of them, with recent studies showing that facial growth rates peak in boys at 14 and in girls just before they are 11. This allows the dentist to work with the natural growth of the child to ensure that growth occurs in the correct direction, resulting in a nicely proportioned face and attractive profile. Orthodontic work can strengthen a weak or retrusive chin, reduce gumminess and minimise the appearance of a large nose as well as correcting crooked or gappy teeth and addressing crossbites to give better symmetry to the face.
In some cases, the reason for childhood orthodontics might actually be these facial profile enhancements – something that can be accurately predicted during an initial consultation and planned for during treatment.
At Dental Artistry, we have many examples of our work that will enable you to visualise the effects of good orthodontic treatment.In our treatment plan presentation, we will be able to explain what is occurring in the growth of your child, how this will affect how they look as an adult and what treatment can do to improve their overall look.
Orthodontics is about more than just appearance; there are clear health benefits too. As well-aligned teeth are much easier to brush and keep clean, orthodontic treatment results in a healthier mouth which impacts your whole system. Children with orthodontic problems are more likely to snore, breathe through their mouths and have poor sleep patterns – all of which can lead to tiredness, behavioural and academic issues. Dr Sauer will work in association with other medical professionals to improve the overall health and happiness of your child. A number of studies show links between orthodontic treatment during childhood or adolescence to improvements in emotional and social well-being.
Getting in early to have your child assessed for orthodontic treatment can improve their health and optimise their facial appearance as well as correct their teeth and smile. This makes it all the more vital to see someone you can trust who has the skills, training and reputation to anticipate how orthodontics will impact your child and ensure they are the best possible version of themselves.