Many parents are surprised that the American Association of Orthodontics recommends that children have an orthodontic evaluation by age seven. Their concern is understandable; however, the important thing to understand is that an evaluation does not automatically mean your child needs braces.
What Happens during an Orthodontic Evaluation?
Age seven is ideal for an evaluation because children are in the mixed dentition phase, meaning they have a mix of primary and baby teeth. Most importantly, they have their first set of permanent molars called six-year-molars. The dentist evaluates the position of these teeth to determine the likelihood of problems developing with the child’s dental bite.
If they identify potential issues, the dentist may recommend phase one orthodontic treatment, also called interceptive orthodontics. At this age, the child’s teeth and jawbones are still developing and quite responsive to treatment.
Phase one procedures don’t guarantee your child won’t still need orthodontic treatment in the future. However, they can help reduce treatment times and make treatment less costly and complicated.
What’s Involved with Phase One Orthodontics?
Your dentist in Aurora, CO, will start the evaluation with a visual examination and then take safe, low-dose digital x-rays to evaluate your child’s jaw. Some of the orthodontic issues they may detect that can benefit from early intervention are:
- Jaw overcrowding
- Crooked teeth
- Gapped teeth
- Protruding teeth
Thanks to a child’s rapid growth at this age, interceptive orthodontics can influence a child’s jaw development to an extent that isn’t possible once the jaws finish growing. Some of the early treatment goals are to guide jaw growth, create space for permanent teeth, correct harmful oral habits, and prevent damage to protruding teeth.
What Are Some Interceptive Orthodontic Treatments?
Examples of interceptive treatments your dentist might recommend are:
- Palatal expanders to expand the upper arch
- Space maintainers to maintain the space left by premature loss of baby teeth
- Removal of some primary teeth to create space for permanent teeth
Myobrace® Pre-Orthodontic Treatment
Dr. Holly Baller also offers Myobrace treatment in Aurora, CO, used to correct oral habits that can lead to incorrect jaw development. These habits include thumb-sucking, prolonged pacifier use, mouth breathing, and tongue thrusting.
Schedule Your Child’s Orthodontic Evaluation
If your child has their first permanent molars, now is a good time to schedule your child’s orthodontic evaluation at Baller Dental & Orthodontics at Southlands Mall. Dr. Baller and her dental team look forward to meeting you and your child!