Early Orthodontic Treatment
The American Association of Orthodontists recommends that every child see an orthodontist by age 7. In some cases, an orthodontic concern may require an earlier orthodontic consultation. Around age 7, the first adult molars typically erupt, helping to define a patient’s back bite and allowing the orthodontist to more effectively evaluate the bite. Treatment at this age may not be necessary, but orthodontic monitoring can help anticipate the ideal timeline for the most effective treatment and also help to prevent more serious problems in the future.
Some results of effective early treatment:
- Reducing the need for tooth removal
- Creating space for crowded, erupting teeth
- Reducing the risk of injury to protruding front teeth
- Preserving needed space for permanent teeth
- Reducing future orthodontic treatment time
A habit appliance is useful to help stop a thumb or finger habit and/or to help re-train an improper tongue position or swallowing pattern. It is sometimes necessary to place an appliance to minimize the harm and distortion the habits or tongue posture can have on teeth. Most habit appliances are banded for adhesion to the back molars and are not removable.
Space maintainers are used to keep teeth from drifting into an empty tooth space due to early loss of primary (baby) teeth. Baby teeth act as a guide for the eruption of the permanent teeth. A space maintainer is made of stainless steel and/or plastic. It can be removable or fixed to the teeth.