Orthodontic in Children
The American Association of Orthodontists recommends age 7 as an appropriate age to have children first evaluated for orthodontic issues. This does not mean that treatment would begin at age 7, but rather is a point in time to begin planning for future care, if conditions are noted. In adolescents, beginning orthodontic treatment before age 12 to 13 (Early Treatment or Phase One Treatment) can be advantageous for better results and often lead to less expensive care overall; before growth has been completed.
There are some specific situations where early treatment in children is critical to the long-term needs of younger orthodontic patients. These include a narrow upper jaw, cross bites with front or back teeth, trapped teeth (from crowding), ectopic teeth (teeth way off course in their developmental position), open bites with front teeth, tongue thrusts or thumb sucking habits, lower jaws that are too retruded (very little chin) or too protruded (too much chin). Also, cleft lip and cleft palate conditions require preparatory work for surgeries, etc. Early treatment may be indicated when it is felt that ignoring an early problem carries the risk of adding unnecessary additional time, complexity or overall expense to your child’s orthodontic care. Sometimes, early orthodontic intervention can obviate the need for more care, after all permanent teeth are in.