The timing of orthodontic treatment for a child may be a source of confusion to a parent. Should treatment begin early, at the age of seven years, when both permanent and baby teeth are present, to take advantage of the child’s growth and development potential or wait until all of the permanent teeth have erupted. Whether to treat young (around 7 years) or later during adolescence (10-15 years) is debated among orthodontists. Our practice takes this approach: if your child has a problem with the growth and development of the face; sleeping issues, or misdirected eruption patterns of the permanent teeth, then early intervention will help reduce the potential problems later. See photos below of possible growth and development problems. Otherwise, our office will initiate treatment for your child during adolescence when all of the permanent teeth have erupted.
The timing of treatment is all about space appropriation. If the teeth have sufficient room to erupt on the dental ridge, then later treatment would be the time of choice. Early treatment is not about eliminating a second phase of treatment, rather, it is about alleviating future problems. The American Association of Orthodontists recommends that every child be evaluated by an orthodontist at the age of seven to assure that tooth eruption is proceeding correctly.