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Dr Karen Campbell
 
 
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Early / Preventive
 

Many common orthodontic problems are easier to correct before jaw growth has slowed, so it’s good practice for children to have a check-up with our orthodontist no later than age 7, when enough permanent teeth have erupted to permit an evaluation of relationships developing between the teeth, jaws and face.

Reasons for this Examination:

The posterior occlusion or bite is established when the first molars erupt. At that time, one can evaluate the antero-posterior and transverse relationships of the occlusion, as well as discover any functional shifts or crossbites. Incisors have begun to erupt and problems can be detected such as crowding, habits,deep bites, open bites and some jaw discrepancies.

For some, a timely evaluation will lead to significant treatment benefits; for others, the principal immediate benefit is a parent’s peace of mind.We  do not advocate comprehensive orthodontic treatment at age 7. However,interceptive treatment may be appropriate in the kinds of problems shown on the reverse.

Final treatment decisions should be made among the parent, child’s dentist and orthodontist.

If your child is older than 7, it’s certainly not too late for a check-up.

Because patients differ in both physiological development and treatment needs, the orthodontist’s goal is to provide each patient with the most appropriate treatment at the most appropriate time.

Here’s Why:
• Orthodontists can spot subtle problems with jaw growth and emerging teeth while some baby teeth are still present.

• While your child’s teeth may appear to be straight, there could be a problem that only an orthodontist can detect.

• A check-up may reveal that your child’s bite is fine. Or, the orthodontist may identify a developing problem but recommend monitoring the child’s growth and development, and then, if indicated, begin treatment at the appropriate time for the child. In other cases, the orthodontist might find a problem that can benefit from early treatment.

• Early treatment may prevent or intercept more serious problems from developing and may make treatment at a later age shorter and less complicated. In some cases, the orthodontist will be able to achieve results that may not be possible once the face and jaws have finished growing.

• Early treatment may give your orthodontist the chance to:

- Guide jaw growth

- Lower the risk of trauma to protruded front teeth

- Correct harmful oral habits

- Improve appearance

- Guide permanent teeth into a more favorable position

- Create a more pleasing arrangement of teeth, lips and face

• Through an early orthodontic evaluation, you’ll be giving your child the best opportunity for a healthy, beautiful smile.

Malocclusions (“bad bites”) like those illustrated below, may benefit from early diagnosis and referral to an orthodontic specialist for a full evaluation.

In addition, if you notice any of the following in your child, check with your orthodontist:

  • early or late loss of baby teeth
  • difficulty in chewing or biting
  • mouth breathing
  • jaws that shift or make sounds
  • speech difficulties
  • biting the cheek or the roof of the mouth
  • facial imbalance
  • grinding or clenching of the teeth
  • Sucking the thumb or fingers, or other oral habits
  • Crowded, misplaced or blocked-out teeth
  • Jaws that protrude or are recessed
  • Protruding teeth
  • Teeth that meet in an abnormal way or don’t meet at all
  • Facial asymmetry (features out of proportion to the rest of the face)
  • Inability to comfortably close lips

We can then identify any potential problems and, if necessary, discuss the appropriate time for treatment to begin.

 

OPEN BITE (Front teeth do not meet when back teeth are closed)
UNDERBITE (The lower teeth sit in front of upper teeth when back teeth are closed)
PROTRUSION
SPACING
CROWDING
DEEP BITE

 
 
 
 
 
     
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