Our complimentary pre-orthodontic guidance program

The American Association of Orthodontists recommends that every child have an orthodontic evaluation around their seventh birthday. Most children will not require early treatment; however, we want to provide you with the peace of mind of knowing that your child will have his or her treatment started at the most ideal time for their specific orthodontic situation. This ensures they will receive the most conservative and efficient treatment to correct their orthodontic problems.

At these visits we will monitor your child’s dental eruption and skeletal growth as well as take any necessary X-rays. We will advise you what, if anything, should be done at an early age and what can wait until he or she is older. You have the opportunity to plan ahead knowing what treatment is likely to be needed in the future. Occasionally, with proper intervention or space management, braces can be avoided altogether!

Our pre-orthodontic visits are provided at NO CHARGE TO YOU until active treatment begins.

Early Orthodontic Treatment for Children

What is the difference between early orthodontic treatment and regular orthodontic treatment, and why might my child need early treatment? How will early treatment benefit my child in the long run?

Early treatment (also known as Phase One) typically begins around age eight or nine (Phase Two will begin around age 11 or older). The goal of early treatment is to correct the growth of the jaw and certain bite problems, such as underbite. Early treatment also helps to make room for permanent teeth to come in properly, lessening the chance of extractions in the future.

How to tell if your child may need early orthodontic treatment:

  • Early or late loss of baby teeth (your child should typically start losing teeth around age five, and will have all permanent teeth around age 13)

  • Difficulty chewing and/or biting

  • Mouth breathing

  • Your child continues sucking his or her thumb after age five

  • Speech impediments

  • Protruding teeth (the top teeth and the bottom teeth extend away from each other)

  • Teeth that don’t come together in a normal manner or even at all

  • Shifting of the jaw when your child opens or closes his or her mouth (crossbites)

  • Crowded front teeth around age seven or eight

What causes orthodontic problems, and how will early prevention benefit my child?

Orthodontic problems such as crowding of the teeth, too much space between the teeth, jaw growth problems, protruding teeth, and bad bites can be inherited or caused by injury to the mouth, early or late loss of baby teeth, or thumb-sucking habits.

Most children lose all their baby teeth by age 13, and by the end of their teen years, the jaw bones will harden and stop growing. Orthodontic procedures for adults often take more time and can involve tooth extraction or oral surgery. Receiving early orthodontic treatment as a child can help prevent the need for orthodontics as an adult, and reduce the chance of permanent tooth extractions or surgery in the future.

Once your child reaches seven years of age; whether they show signs of needing orthodontic care, you have been directed by your family dentist to visit the orthodontist, or you would like an initial screening evaluation per the recommendation of the American Association of Orthodontists, please contact us and schedule an appointment. Dr. Ashmore will provide your child with an initial exam, and discuss with you the best steps to take toward caring for your child’s smile.

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