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Getting a head start

Treatment for children and adolescents

Early recognition and correction of the poor positioning and function of teeth in children can reduce the duration and complexity of treatments.

Perfect timing

Choosing the ideal time to start orthodontic treatment is important to minimize the time needed to correct positioning flaws. The exact duration of treatment depends on the severity of the positioning flaws as well as the procedures chosen to correct them. 

In most cases, treatment starts between ages 9 to 12. By then, the adult molars are growing in and both adult tooth positioning and jaw shape can still be ideally influenced.

Early orthodontic treatment for children

Observation of bite development should begin as early as 4 to 5 years of age. Certain developmental flaws can be caught and corrected more easily at this early stage, reducing the complexity and duration of treatment at a later stage and setting the course for normal jaw development.

The following flaws in tooth and jaw positioning should be corrected prior to the adult teeth coming in (second dentition):

  • Significant horizontal or vertical gaps between the incisors (overbite, underbite, open bite)
  • Improper alignment of the molars and the incisors (crossbite)
  • Early correction of habits, such as thumb sucking, tongue thrusting, mouth breathing, or speech impediments
  • In the case of premature loss of baby teeth, usually caused by cavities, a spacing retainer is necessary to ensure that neighboring teeth do not wander and obstruct a healthy second dentition.

If you are not sure whether early treatment is indicated for your child, feel free to come in for a consultation!