Orthodontics is a type of dentistry that corrects improperly positioned teeth and jaws. This is done for aesthetic reasons, but also because crooked teeth are harder to keep clean and therefore more prone to gum disease, tooth decay, and tooth loss. Teeth that do not fit together properly can also cause headaches, neck, shoulder, and back pain, and TMJ.
Benefits of Early Orthodontic Treatment in Children
One of the main reasons that early orthodontic treatment works well for children is that their jaws are still growing and their teeth are still developing. This means that some corrective measures like crowding are easier to address. Here are some of the benefits of early orthodontic treatment in children:
• Enhanced self-confidence and aesthetic appearance.
• Increased likelihood of proper jaw growth.
• Increased likelihood of properly aligned and spaced adult teeth.
• Reduced risk of bruxing (grinding of teeth).
• Reduced risk of childhood cavities, periodontal disease, and tooth decay.
• Reduced risk of impacted adult teeth.
• Reduced risk of protracted orthodontic treatments in later years.
• Reduced risk of speech problems.
• Reduced risk of tooth, gum, and jawbone injury.
When Is the Best Time to Start?
There are three age-related stages of orthodontic treatment which are recognized by pediatric dentists:
Stage 1: Early treatment (2-6 years old)
This stage is used to make space for permanent teeth to come in correctly. Children who lose teeth early, grind their teeth, use their mouth only to breathe, and whose jaws click are good candidates for early treatment.
Stage 2: Middle dentition (6-12 years old)
This stage is intended to make a start in correcting crossbites, realigning jaws that are not lined up correctly, and straightening permanent teeth that are misaligned. During this stage, the soft and hard tissues are extremely pliable, making it an ideal time to correct imperfect positioning of the teeth when the jaws are closed.
Stage 3: Adolescent dentition (13+ years old)
This is the stage where many adolescents get braces to help straighten the permanent teeth and improve the aesthetic appearance of the smile.
Many people may not consider orthodontic treatment for such a young age, but as you can see, it is never too early to start.