October is Orthodontic Health month. If your little Ironman, Princess or (fill in your 2013 costume selection here=__________________) is 7 years old, then it’s time for an orthodontic consult.
Why age 7 years? The teeth and jaws are developing and some emerging problems are easier to correct if found at this age. For these reasons, the American Association of Orthodontists recommends an orthodontic consult no later than age 7 years.
Your family dentist may refer you for this consult, and Dr. Steckel communicates her findings with you, your child and your dentist. Also, you and your child can consult with Dr. Steckel without a referral.
Some orthodontic problems are inherited, and some are caused by harmful habits. Some orthodontic problems are noticeable by the patient and parent, and some are not without an x-ray and clinical exam by Dr. Steckel. Proper timing of treatment is based on the type of problem present, esthetic concerns, and other concerns that are discussed. Examples of some younger patients and their concerns are shown below:
The 7 year old patient (below) and her mom saw she did not have room for her teeth coming in, and she had a cross-bite on her right side. Her jaw was shifting as well-this is a big concern. The after view shows the results after the upper jaw was expanded, and upper braces used.
See how her teeth now line up in the front?
The 8 year old patient (below) had a cross-bite in the front and blocked out teeth. She had braces for less than a year to correct the damaging cross-bite-see her results to the right. This correction also reduces the risk of losing the lower permanent tooth.
The 6 year old patient below had a cross-bite due to her jaws not growing properly. See how flat her face is from the side? She was treated to correct her jaw position- see how her profile is much improved on the second image?
As you can see, there are malocclusions that are best treated early with the goal to reduce the future need for extractions and or jaw surgery; and address esthetic concerns. That being said, there are malocclusions that can wait for the proper time to take advantage of greater growth potential and to streamline the orthodontic experience.
In summary- the best time for an evaluation is 7 years of age. The best time for treatment is best decided with an orthodontic consult. Call Orthodontics on Silver Lake (302) 672-7776, to schedule your child’s consult-it’s fun, informative, and not scary!