Young children from ages 6 to 12 go through a considerable amount of growth. Depending on the type of malocclusion, many can benefit from early intervention. While it may not seem that treatment is necessary early, it usually is better to intervene than to let things get as bad as they can get.
It's never too early to keep an eye on your child's oral development. Some problems can be detected as early as 2 to 3 years of age. An orthodontist or a specialist in pediatric dentistry can identify these malocclusions, crowded and crooked teeth, developing bite problems, and skeletal growth discrepancies. They can actively intervene with treatment in many of these cases to guide the teeth into the proper positions as they emerge in the mouth. Also, if there is a potential skeletal growth problem, functional jaw orthopedic treatment can be instituted. Early orthodontic treatment can prevent more extensive treatment later.
Some malocclusions are often inherited. Orthodontic problems also are caused by dental injuries leading to permanent tooth loss, or such habits as thumb sucking. Early orthodontic therapy can improve your child's smile, but the benefits far surpass appearance and improved self-image. Preventive or interceptive orthodontics cannot only straighten those crooked teeth and correct bite problems like crossbite, overbite and underbite, but can even prevent the need for permanent tooth extractions. Straight teeth are easier to keep clean and less susceptible to tooth decay and gum disease.
Different types of orthodontic appliances work in many ways to benefit your child's dental health. Some are fixed on the teeth, while others, like Invisalign®, are removable. Each type of appliance is specifically diagnosed and custom-fabricated for your child. Your pediatric dentist or orthodontist will be able to explain which appliance is best for your child, what the treatment can do, the costs involved, and how long it will take.
Early treatment takes into account the growth potentials and will usually make the final result more stable and easier treatment later on.
For specific information for your child ask your pediatric dentist or orthodontist.
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