You may remember a young child who had braces at a really young age, and thought to yourself… why?
As a Specialist Orthodontist, I routinely see young kids developing serious orthodontic problems at an early age. Indeed, that is why I strongly recommend that every child sees a Specialist Orthodontist around 9 years old. Some of these problems are best left until the child has lost all the baby teeth before we intervene with orthodontic treatment. However, there are a few very common problems that should be addressed early. This helps to reduce the chances of needing complex orthodontic treatment later in life.
Orthodontic problems to be addressed early
1. Cross bites
These occur when the teeth come through the gums, then bite on the opposing tooth the wrong way round. Cross bites at the front of the mouth (anterior cross bites) are easy to see, and usually detract from the child’s appearance. Mums usually hate this! Cross bites at the back of the mouth (posterior cross bites) often go completely unnoticed, but they are very important to detect.
Failure to detect and treat cross bites can sometimes lead to facial asymmetry and underdeveloped jaw bones. Luckily most cross bites can be corrected around the time that they happen, allowing the jaws to continue growing normally. Often, a short period of time wearing a plate, or a short course of orthodontic fixed braces, can correct the problem quickly and easily.
2. Naughty canines
Adult canines are the longest teeth we have, and they often get lost on their long journey into the mouth. This can lead to an impacted tooth – a very difficult problem for a young family to deal with. A Specialist Orthodontist can detect this commonly inherited problem at an early age (before 9 years old), allowing the chance for simple intervention to lessen or even eliminate the problem before it occurs.
3. Missing adult teeth
This is another commonly inherited problem, and early detection can save a great deal of time, money, and effort down the line. A simple scan of the jaws at the age of 9 years old can establish the absence of adult teeth, allowing ample opportunity to lessen the impact.
4. Extra adult teeth
We call these supernumerary teeth, and they can cause all kinds of problems. Again, this is a problem that is common to inherit and we can detect it at an early age. In many cases early detection and interceptive orthodontics helps you avoid nasty surprises, and can significantly reduce the need for complex orthodontic treatment once all the adult teeth have come through.
– Orthodontists should carry out interceptive treatment around the time certain problems occur.
– This often reduces the need for complex orthodontic treatment in the teenage years.
– A visit to a Specialist Orthodontist around the age of 9 years means you can detect the problems that need to be fixed early.