When does your orthodontist want to start treatment?
Anyone can book directly with an Orthodontist – you don’t need a referral. Your dentist can also provide you with a referral. Some problems, if caught early, can be very simple to treat and can help to minimise more severe problems later. Some treatments must wait until growth has ceased.
The American Association of Orthodontists recommends that by age seven, most potential orthodontic problems should be assessed. Even if no treatment is required at the time of the first visit, early assessment allows your orthodontist to determine the most appropriate timing for your treatment.
If a problem is identified but is too early to treat, follow up visits, usually annually, are arranged at no charge.
Early phase orthodontic treatment can greatly improve self-esteem where there are cosmetic issues, and can also help minimise future problems, reduce the need for lengthy treatment at a later date, or help reduce the need for extractions or surgery.
Early assessment gives the parent peace of mind, and if treatment is required, the ideal time to commence can be identified.
The following early signs and common problems may indicate that your child should have an orthodontic examination:
- Crowded or poorly shaped teeth
- Facial asymmetry/imbalance
- Delayed eruption of teeth
- Early or uneven or late loss of teeth
- Difficulty with chewing or biting
- Mouth breathing
- Thumb or finger sucking
- Jaws joint pain or noises
- Speech impediments
- Teeth biting gums or cheeks
- Jaws that protrude or retrude
- Grinding or clenching of the teeth
This is the most common time to treat orthodontic problems. Accelerated facial growth can often be used to help move teeth and jaws into the correct positions. Orthodontics in adolescents these days is not what it used to be. Coloured and cosmetic braces – and in some cases fully hidden or invisible orthodontic treatments – mean social acceptability is high. When orthodontic appliances are worn, extra care is needed for the teeth, which become more difficult to clean. A high level of patient cooperation is often needed for successful treatment. If there is difficulty with cooperation it may be better to delay treatment. Most orthodontic treatment can still be done at an older age.