Why is age 7 considered the optimal time for screening?
By the age of 7, the first adult molars erupt, establishing the back bite. During this time, an orthodontist can evaluate front-to-back and side-to-side tooth relationships. For example, the presence of erupting incisors can indicate possible overbite, open bite, crowding or gummy smiles. At this early age, orthodontic treatment may not be necessary, but monitoring growth and tooth eruption can anticipate the most advantageous time to begin treatment.
What are the benefits of early orthodontic evaluation?
Early evaluation provides both timely detection of problems and greater opportunity for more effective treatment. Prudent intervention guides growth and development, preventing serious problems later. When orthodontic intervention is not necessary, an orthodontist can carefully monitor growth and development and begin treatment when it is ideal.
Why should malocclusions be treated?
According to studies by the American Association of Orthodontists, untreated malocclusions can result in a variety of problems. Crowded teeth are more difficult to properly brush and floss, which may contribute to tooth decay and/or gum disease. Protruding teeth are more susceptible to accidental chipping. Crossbites can result in unfavorable growth and uneven tooth wear. Openbites can result in tongue-thrusting habits and speech impediments. Timely screening increases the chances for an incredible smile.
What are the advantages of early treatment?
Some of the most direct results of interceptive treatment are:
▪ Creating room for crowded, erupting teeth
▪ Creating facial symmetry through influencing jaw growth
▪ Reducing the risk of trauma to protruding front teeth
▪ Preserving space for unerupted teeth
▪ Reducing the need for tooth removal
▪ Reducing treatment time with braces