At Sonneveld Orthodontics, we believe everyone deserves a beautiful, healthy smile that they're proud of in any situation. Dr. Sonneveld and our highly trained team of orthodontic specialists work with every patient on an individual level, designing personalized treatment plans and utilizing the latest in cutting-edge orthodontic technology to ensure treatment is as effective, safe, and convenient as possible. For many patients, treatment will take place during adolescence or in adulthood - but for some, it's better to start with early orthodontic treatment.
What is Early Orthodontic Treatment?
Early orthodontic treatment is any orthodontic treatment course that takes place from ages 6 to 10. Also called interceptive treatment, early orthodontic treatment can help correct orthodontic problems before they get too severe, helping to establish the best overall smile in the end and often reducing the amount of time spent in braces. Treating patients early lets the orthodontist take advantage of the natural growth processes of children, and because the jaw and mouth aren't fully developed, we can make changes that are much more difficult to do later in life.
In keeping with the American Association of Orthodontists, we recommend parents bring their children in for an initial orthodontic evaluation by age 7. We may not begin treatment right away, but by evaluating at this age we're able to spot current problems as well as things that may become a problem later on. This lets us monitor dental development to determine the perfect time to start orthodontic treatment, helping us achieve the best overall orthodontic result for you.
Does My Child Need Early Orthodontic Treatment?
Only a trained orthodontist can decide if your child needs treatment, but there are a number of factors you can watch for as well:
- Overbite or underbite (jaws are too far forward or back)
- Jaws that shift when opening or closing the mouth (crossbite)
- Crowding, crooked, protruding, or blocked-out teeth
- Teeth that don't meet normally
- Trouble chewing or biting
- Mouth breathing
- Jaws that shift abnormally or make sounds when they move
- Early or late loss of baby teeth (outside of ages 5 to 13)
- Thumb-sucking past age 4 or 5
- Chronic biting of the cheek or roof of the mouth
- Jaws and teeth that look disproportional to the rest of the face
These signs indicate early orthodontic treatment is likely necessary, but regardless of your child's oral health, they should still have an evaluation by age 7. This is the only way to determine your child's orthodontic situation and decide for sure if they need early treatment or will develop normally without it.
How Does Early Orthodontic Treatment Help?
Early orthodontic evaluation is crucial in detecting orthodontic problems before they get too severe, and it also allows Dr. Sonneveld to plan a more effective treatment that leads to a better smile. By guiding the growth and development of the jaws and teeth, Sonneveld Orthodontics can make changes that last a lifetime. Even if we don't start treatment just yet, early evaluation lets us monitor growth and decide the best time to start orthodontic treatment.
For children that do need early orthodontic treatment, the benefits include:
- Making space for crowded teeth
- Influencing jaw growth to improve facial symmetry
- Protecting protruding front teeth from injury
- Keeping space open for unerupted teeth
- Avoiding tooth removal
- Reducing overall orthodontic treatment time
Schedule Your Child’s Initial Orthodontic Evaluation
Early treatment may or may not be right for your child, but the only way to know for sure is to schedule an evaluation with Dr. Sonneveld at our Orland Park, IL office. If you'd like to make an appointment with us, feel free to do so using our easy online form. If you have any questions, we're happy to help too - just call us at (708) 403-2626. We can't wait to hear from you, and we look forward to helping your child develop a beautiful, healthy smile!