Ladera, CA – Historically, when people think of the average person in braces they likely think of a mid to late teenager with metal braces. But the teenage years might not actually be the most ideal time for the majority of the orthodontic treatment. As Drs. Reza Salmassian and Robert Gire explain, there is no harm in visiting an orthodontist too early but there may be some if you visit one too late.
The recommended age to visit an orthodontist is the age of seven. This may seem young but it is in fact the ideal age for several reasons. First, it is very helpful to the orthodontist to see how the smile is shaping up with the mix of baby and permanent teeth. The orthodontists can monitor the eruption pattern of permanent teeth, jaw growth and development, and spot any issues that might become more serious as the permanent teeth begin to erupt.
“For some patients, if we wait until all the baby teeth have fallen out, that may actually be too late to create the most ideal smile in the most effective manner,” says Dr. Gire, who along with Dr. Salmassian serves patients at Ladera Orthodontics. “By treating patients while they still have some baby teeth we can create a more ideal environment into which the permanent teeth can erupt. And oftentimes this means later treatment is more effective and efficient.”
Not every child who sees an orthodontist at age seven will require this early interceptive treatment. Your child’s baby teeth play a very important role in shaping your child’s future smile. Not only do they aid in efficient chewing and promote proper speech development, they also reserve a spot in which the permanent teeth can erupt. But, if your child’s mouth is very crowded before the larger permanent teeth erupt, your orthodontist may recommend early treatment so that the permanent teeth have room to properly erupt.
“The younger your child is, the easier orthodontic treatment can be for several reasons,” says Dr. Salmassian. “But the most important reason is that the jaw is still growing, giving us the chance to guide its development to ensure we can reduce crowding and help the permanent teeth erupt properly.”
If your orthodontist has the ability to help guide jaw growth and ensure the jaws are properly aligned, it will require less movement of the teeth which can result in a shorter treatment time.
“Our goal is always to create a smile that isn’t just beautiful, but that functions properly and will last a lifetime,” says Dr. Gire. “We often find that by treating patients with two phase treatment, beginning before the baby teeth have all fallen out, we can reduce the risk of relapse and create stable, healthy bites. Waiting until all the baby teeth have fallen out may be doing your child a disservice.”
If your child is over the age of seven and hasn’t seen an orthodontist yet, schedule a visit today. Initial consultations are free of charge and they will provide you with peace of mind. Call Ladera Orthodontics today at 949-272-8782.