La Mesa, CA – Did you know that the ideal time for the first consultation with an orthodontist is the age of seven? While you probably most commonly think of teenagers wearing braces, seven is actually the most ideal time to begin a relationship with an orthodontist. That doesn’t mean your child will be put in braces that young, but it does allow for an orthodontist to monitor your child’s growth, and then suggest treatment at the time it will have the most impact.
“At the age of seven, we typically see a good mix of baby and permanent teeth, and we can see how the jaw is growing to accommodate that,” says Dr. Santiago Surillo, an orthodontist and pediatric dentist in La Mesa. “By beginning a relationship with an orthodontist at this age, we can see if there are any problems that would benefit from early intervention, and then correct those problems before they become more serious.”
Early, or phase I, treatment, typically happens between the ages of 7 and 10. The goal is to ensure that the jaw is growing and developing properly and to address any skeletal issues while growth is still occurring. The orthodontist will look for discrepancies in the sizes of the upper and lower jaws, asymmetrical growth in bone, and other issues that should be corrected before bone growth stops.
There are some ways you can tell if your child might be an ideal candidate for early orthodontic treatment and jaw correction.
- Loss of baby teeth too early or too late
- Problems with chewing or biting
- Mouth breathing
- Extended thumb sucking or pacifier use
- Tongue thrusting
- Teeth that do not come together
- Teeth that protrude away from each other
Jaw correction in children courtesy of early interceptive treatment can provide excellent results for children. It will allow room for erupting permanent teeth that would otherwise be too crowded to erupt properly, influence jaw growth to ensure facial symmetry, reduce the need for tooth removal, and reduce overall time in braces.
“Because I am also a pediatric dentist, I see children of all ages at my practice,” says Dr. Surillo. “While many children may not need early treatment and jaw correction, for those who do, we can avoid more extensive and costlier treatment later. Initial consultations and follow-up observation appointments are free of charge until your child is ready to begin their orthodontic treatment.”