Though an orthodontist can enhance a smile at any age, there is an optimal time period to begin treatment to ensure the greatest result and the least amount of time and expense. The American Association of Orthodontists recommends that the initial orthodontic evaluation occur at the first sign of orthodontic problems or no later than age 7. At this early age, orthodontic treatment may not be necessary, but careful examination can anticipate the most advantageous time to begin treatment.
Early evaluation provides both timely detection of problems and greater opportunity for more effective treatment. Prudent intervention guides growth and development, preventing serious problems later. When orthodontic intervention is not necessary, an orthodontist can carefully monitor growth and development and begin treatment when it is ideal.
By the age of 7, the first adult molars erupt, establishing the back bite. During this time, an orthodontist can evaluate front-to-back and side-to-side tooth relationships. For example, the presence of erupting incisors can indicate possible overbite, open bite, crowding or gummy smiles. Timely screening increases the chances for an incredible smile.
Some of the most direct results of interceptive treatment are:
Orthodontics is not merely improving the aesthetics of a smile; orthodontic treatment improves bad bites (malocclusions). Malocclusions occur as a result of tooth or jaw misalignment. Maloccusions affect the way you smile, chew, clean your teeth or feel about your smile.
According to studies by the American Association of Orthodontists, untreated malocclusion can result in a variety of problems. Crowded teeth are more difficult to properly brush and floss, which may contribute to tooth decay and/or gum disease. Protruding teeth are more susceptible to accidental chipping. Crossbites can result in unfavorable growth and uneven tooth wear. Openbites can results in tongue-trusting habits and speech impediments. Ultimately, orthodontics does more than make a pretty smile – it creates a healthier you.