We understand the dilemma many parents may face when it comes to early orthodontic treatment for their young ones—you want to make sure your child gets the best treatment possible, but you also fear wasting time and money if your child’s teeth are just going to continue shifting and moving as they grow. That’s why we want to talk about which conditions you need to be concerned about early on. These issues will respond well to early treatment, which will save you and your child major headaches—literally and figuratively—later in life.
- Class I Malocclusion (a.k.a. crooked or crowded teeth): Malocclusion is a big word for a relatively simple idea; it’s a term that means poor or misaligned bite and is divided into three classes. Class I is very common, and features significantly crooked teeth or teeth that protrude at abnormal angles. This is usually due to overcrowding or other misalignments. Early intervention is important here because the treatment generally takes two phases, each phase lasting two years long, to work properly. The earlier you can start, the more effective these treatments will be!
- Class III Malocclusion (a.k.a. the underbite and crossbite): We’ve talked before about the differences between underbites, overbites, and crossbites, and now we’ll stress why early intervention for Class III is so important:
- The Underbite: Treating this condition (where the bottom teeth protrude in front of the upper teeth) involves not just moving the teeth, but changing the growth patterns of your child’s teeth and jaw. Because of this, it’s a good idea to visit an orthodontist and discuss starting treatment as early as age seven.
- The Crossbite: Think horizontally here; if your child’s upper teeth fit inside of the lower teeth, they are suffering from a crossbite. Solving this problem typically requires a device called a palatal expander, which widens the upper jaw, allowing teeth to fit together properly. Because of this lateral shifting, early intervention while the mouth is still growing is considered best practice.
- Tooth extraction: The commonness of this issue—baby teeth that just won’t fall out or extra teeth—might make it seem less important, but these teeth can play a huge part in the development of your child’s smile. Crooked baby teeth can lead to issues when permanent teeth begin to erupt, so if your child has a particularly crowded mouth, consider taking them to visit the orthodontist soon! Extracting baby teeth and, in some cases, permanent premolars can put your child on the path to a straight smile in adulthood.
The average person gets braces between the ages of 9 and 14, but some cases really do benefit from intervention earlier on. Others may not, like Class II Malocclusion, or overbites, where waiting until adolescence is usually recommended. But no matter what issues you’re seeing, you can always benefit from a visit. Schedule a free consultation with Birmingham Orthodontics to see if your child could benefit from early intervention and get personalized recommendations to take the stress and guesswork out of ensuring they grow a strong and healthy smile!
At Birmingham Orthodontics, our mission is simple: we create smiles. Not only do we straighten the crooked grin, fix the bite, and adjust the jaw, we also brighten yearbooks, help young people come to like their looks, and give adults the confidence they have wanted for a long, long time. We also believe in our staff. Our culture of continuous learning has allowed us to host monthly training sessions for each team and bring in leading industry consultants to help keep us ahead of the curve. Contact us for a free consultation, or any questions you might have.