When should orthodontic treatment begin in kids?

Like most things, it depends.

In the past, orthodontics was often delayed until all the adult teeth were present in early teens. Unfortunately that often meant that the benefit of interceptive treatment was missed. As a result, there tended to be more “extraction” cases performed, as many people were very crowded with narrow jaws. This meant smaller mouths and less teeth, and there is now some recognition in the dental and broader medical community that this is usually not ideal.

It is now accepted that certain issues can be treated or “intercepted” early (7 years old or earlier). This has potential to treat simply an issue which might later be a complex problem, and avoid or minimise future treatment.

There is also recognition that kids who breathe well through their nose with their lips closed and tongue sitting on the roof of the mouth at rest, may develop more “normally”. Sometimes we will discuss breathing issues with you and potentially recommend an ear, nose and throat specialist to assess things.

Not all kids are suitable for interceptive treatment, and there is often merit in accepting that there will be a crowding issue for a period of time before getting everything fixed in one go later. We like to minimise the time in treatment wherever possible.

Feel free to come and discuss orthodontic issues with your child (consults are at no charge).

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