The American Association of Orthodontists recommends that all children receive an orthodontic evaluation by age 7, or earlier if parents notice a potential problem. In most cases, no treatment is necessary at this age, and we place your child in our growth monitoring program. We will perform periodic checkups to observe your child’s growth and determine when and if orthodontic treatment is necessary.
Orthodontic treatment during childhood has numerous benefits. The timing of treatment is important, because Dr. Carrie Jennings Southworth’s goal is to obtain ideal results and prevent teeth and jaw alignment problems in the future.
When treating children, Dr. Jennings uses the child’s growth to her advantage to achieve the best outcome.
Dr. Jennings can guide jaw growth in cases where your child’s jaws are not in the correct position, or in cases of extreme crowding.
Common malocclusions that benefit from early treatment include:
- Scissors bite or crossbite of front teeth.
- Overjet- commonly referred to as “buck teeth,” this is when the upper front teeth just outward and are more susceptible to dental trauma.
- Crossbite- the teeth of the upper and lower jaws don’t line up properly, and can create facial asymmetry.
- Underbite- the lower jaw protrudes in front of the upper teeth.
Dr. Jennings uses functional appliances that modify the growing jaws to correct these problems and improve facial aesthetics. Various appliances can widen the palate, and promote or inhibit jaw growth as needed to create better relationships between the upper and lower jaw. Early treatment also creates facial symmetry and can create or preserve room for teeth that haven’t yet erupted.
Orthodontic treatment performed at the right growth stage often can prevent the need for tooth extractions and surgery down the road.