From age six to twelve, your kids’ mouths are very busy places. They will shed twenty baby teeth, which they acquired by age three, enroute to building a finished, full set of 28 adult teeth. Their jawbones and new teeth grow while their baby teeth fall out to make room. It’s a wonderful process to witness, and to celebrate with visits from the Tooth Fairy.
Most kids’ teeth do not come in perfectly straight. It’s very common to see new adult teeth crowded by other teeth, especially in a still-growing jaw. Bite misalignments may appear that cause awkward chewing and even jaw pain or teeth damage. Early intervention with orthodontics is a great way to stay ahead of problems and make the transition to permanent teeth a happy one.
In the past, dentists typically waited for patients to enter adolescence before intervention, but today’s technology allows pre-emptive treatment in children as young as six or seven. When the first signs of crowding appear, dentists can proactively help incoming adult teeth emerge into better positions in the mouth and sometimes even avoid pulling teeth. Children with crossbites, protruding teeth and small dental arches are good candidates and work done earlier may shorten the treatment term.
The American Association of Orthodontics recommends that kids be screened for problems at age seven.
Of course orthodontics provides cosmetic enhancement as well as medical benefits, and avoiding braces during the sensitive high school years is an added bonus. With early intervention, your child could have their beautiful smile completed ahead of schedule.