Our doctors are committed to providing pediatric dental care and preventative dentistry for infants, children, teens, and young adults. But they also know it is important to receive an early orthodontic evaluation for your child to see if treatment may be necessary. Early detection can help your child’s speech, chew and digest foods properly, and enhance their overall appearance by preventing and treating malocclusions (teeth not coming together in the mouth properly).

How to tell if my child needs early orthodontic treatment

  • Early or late loss of baby teeth (your child should typically start losing teeth around age 5 or 6)
  • Difficulty chewing and/or biting
  • Mouth breathing
  • Your child continues sucking their thumb or using a bottle after age four or five
  • Speech impediments
  • Protruding teeth (the top teeth and the bottom teeth extend away from each other)
  • Lips don’t come together naturally at rest
  • Shifting of the jaw when your child opens or closes their mouth (posterior crossbite)
  • Top teeth that are behind the bottom teeth when your child bites down (anterior crossbite)
  • Crowded front teeth

What are the advantages of early orthodontic treatment?

  • Creating room for erupting permanent teeth to prevent crowding
  • 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 permanent tooth removal
  • Reducing treatment time with braces
  • Preventative measure for malocclusions (teeth not aligning properly)

At Dentistry For Children our doctors work hard to prevent seven and eight year-olds needing braces at those ages whenever possible by addressing potential crowding situations early, before they require intervention by an orthodontist. All of our patients are referred to an orthodontist by age ten at the latest, but we try to reduce the amount of treatment that may be recommended by addressing minor orthodontic issues early in our office… without braces. Simple anterior or posterior crossbites, premature loss of a baby tooth, or a sucking habit that adversely affects your child’s bite are all examples of orthodontic issues that are commonly treated in our office, usually several years prior to braces being needed.