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April 11, 2016  | by Dr. Benjamin Farrow

The Early Orthodontic Evaluation

Many parents with young children have questions about orthodontics: Will my son or daughter need braces? When do you start? How much will it cost?

We are committed to helping parents understand their child’s growth and development from their first visit. At age 1, we look at tooth eruption patterns and tooth spacing. For the next few years, we monitor jaw growth and discuss the influence habits have on teeth. By age 7, most children are erupting their first adult teeth and the signs of adult bite problems become apparent.

Our goals of balance and stability for the entire chewing system are consistent with many of the reasons why a person would need orthodontics. Many malocclusions (bite problems) are a combination of tooth position and jaw growth issues. The practice of orthodontics is concerned with improving the position of teeth, as well as positively influencing jaw growth. Our goal should be to use the many years of growth to your advantage.

In accordance with the American Association of Orthodontists, we recommend that children have their first orthodontic evaluation by the age of 7. With early evaluation and diagnosis, children have the best chance achieving excellent orthodontic results. By using the natural growth period to correct problems, early treatment often allows us to avoid surgery, tooth extractions, or other serious complications.

The goal of early evaluation is to identify issues, and the goals of “Interceptive Treatment/Phase I” is to correct early bite problems by shaping jaw growth. Early treatment can prevent many problems from developing, some of which include crowding, upper/lower jaw growth mismatch, crossbites, and overbite/underbite. When your child participates in routine preventative care, you can count on us to recognize these problems and make recommendations that will coordinate with your child’s orthodontic care to achieve the best possible and functional dental health for your child. Whatever you or your child’s age, please ask us at your next visit how we can help improve you or your loved one’s smile.