Mommy's Time Out Magazine November Issue - Page 13

WHAT IS THE BENEFIT OF EARLY ORTHODONTIC TREATMENT? Drs. Claudia Moricz & Karen Varone Board Certified Orthodontists You may think of braces as a rite of passage reserved for teenagers. However, we treat patients of all ages, and for many children, early orthodontic treatment will yield the best results in the shortest time with the least expense. When is the best time for my child to see an orthodontist? Though an orthodontist can enhance a smile at any age, the American Association of Orthodontists recommends that children are seen for an initial evaluation around age 7 when their upper permanent teeth come in. This is also around the time that the first adult molars erupt, which establishes the bite in the back of the mouth. An orthodontist can evaluate front-to-back and sideto-side tooth relationships, diagnose any early problems and predict future issues. While not every child will need treatment at this young age, vigilant examination can determine the best time to begin treatment. Why should my child be evaluated for early treatment? Early treatment can be the most effective treatment for a variety of orthodontic problems. Some of these problems are inherited, while others can be caused by injuries, bad oral habits, or the early or late loss of baby teeth (typically children begin to lose their baby teeth around age 5). Many orthodontic problems can be fixed more quickly and easily at a young age when the jaw bones are still growing. If delayed, these problems can necessitate longer orthodontic treatments later or more extensive remedies such as tooth extraction or oral surgery. Some of the most direct results of early treatment include creating room for crowded, erupting teeth, creating facial symmetry through influencing jaw growth, reducing the risk of injury to permanent teeth, preserving space for un-erupted teeth, reducing treatment time with braces and aiding in cessation of habits such as thumb-sucking and tongue-thrusting. Some common orthodontic problems you may recognize in your child include: SEVERE OVERJET This condition is when the front teeth protrude far beyond the bottom teeth. This can be caused by genetics or oral habits such as prolonged thumbsucking. A major concern with a severe overjet is the potential for trauma to the permanent front teeth due to falls or other injuries. ANTERIOR OR POSTERIOR CROSSBITE An anterior crossbite is when the front teeth do not extend past the bottom teeth. A posterior crossbite is when the teeth do not align side-toside. A crossbite can be hereditary or can be caused by the early or late loss of baby teeth, oral habits such as prolonged pacifier use or mouth