Early evaluation (ages 7 and older) provides both timely detection of problems and greater opportunity for more effective treatment. Prudent early treatment guides growth and development, preventing or reducing serious problems later. When orthodontic intervention is not necessary, Dr. Cucalon can carefully monitor growth and development and begin treatment when it is ideal.
The best time to begin orthodontics
Though an orthodontist can enhance a smile at any age, there is an optimal time period to begin treatment, ensuring the greatest result and the least amount of time and expense. The American Association of Orthodontists recommends that the initial orthodontic evaluation should occur at the first sign of orthodontic problems, or no later than age 7. At this early age, orthodontic treatment may not be necessary, but vigilant examination can anticipate the most advantageous time to begin treatment and give Dr. Cucalon the opportunity to review possible treatment plans and alternatives with families.
By the age of 7, the first adult molars have erupted, establishing the back bite. During this time, Dr. Cucalon can evaluate front-to-back and side-to-side tooth relationships. For example, the presence of erupting incisors can indicate possible overbite, overjets, open bite, crossbites, crowding, or gummy smiles. It is also a time when Dr. Cucalon can identify any congenitally missing permanent teeth. Timely screening gives you a chance to get your questions answered by Dr. Cucalon. He will help you plan for treatment if it is indicated, increasing the chances for an incredible smile.
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The advantages of early treatment
Some of the biggest advantages of early (“interceptive”) treatment include:
- Creating room for crowded, erupting permanent teeth
- Creating facial symmetry through influencing jaw growth or slowing down future jaw growth
- Reducing the risk of trauma to protruding front teeth
- Preserving space and creating space for unerupted permanent teeth
- Reducing the need for tooth removal
- Reducing treatment time with braces.