What Is Early Orthodontic Treatment and Does My Child Need It?

young family

Thinking about early orthodontic treatment for your child? If so, you are not alone. As many as 20 percent of the patients in some orthodontic practices are ages 7 to 10.  The truth is, many developing orthodontic problems can be intercepted and corrected if diagnosed and treated at an early age. Dr. Kevin Horner and Dr. Keri Barrow, along with the American Association of Orthodontists (AAO) and many other orthodontists and dental professionals, recommend children have their first orthodontic evaluation no later than age seven, or younger if the front four permanent teeth have replaced the baby teeth. Early treatment, also known as Phase I treatment (or interceptive treatment), provides timely detection of problems and a greater opportunity for more effective treatment. Early intervention guides growth and development, preventing serious problems later.

You may want to consider early orthodontic treatment if any of the following issues apply to your child:
• Early or late loss of baby teeth (a child typically starts losing baby teeth around age five or six, and will have all their permanent teeth in by age 12 to 13)
• Sucking his or her thumb
• Difficulty chewing and/or biting
• Mouth breathing
• Speech impediment
• Protruding teeth (the top teeth and the bottom teeth extend away from each other)
• Crowded front teeth
• Teeth that don’t come together in a normal manner, or even at all

Early intervention can reduce the severity of your child’s case, and therefore reduce the length of treatment time and cost for a second phase of treatment when all of his or her permanent teeth have erupted.  The orthodontists and the staff at Horner Barrow Orthodontics can evaluate your child and determine if his or her dental and skeletal growth is proceeding properly, or if interceptive treatment is needed. In many instances, a more severe problem can be corrected using sophisticated removable appliances instead of traditional orthodontic treatment.

To schedule an appointment in our Sioux Falls, SD office, please contact us. We will be happy to  consult with you regarding any next steps deemed necessary toward caring for your child’s smile and dental health.

At Horner Barrow Orthodontics, we are committed to delivering excellent quality orthodontic treatment to each and every one of our patients. To provide a friendly, caring, and pleasant atmosphere that will ensure our patients feel relaxed and confident about placing their orthodontic care in our hands.