When Earlier Treatment Is Better
Treatment for common orthodontic problems typically begins around age 9-14 when all the baby teeth are gone and many of the permanent ones are in place. There are some conditions that are much easier to treat if they’re caught at an early age, when a child’s natural growth processes are going full speed ahead, which is why we fully encourage early checkups for your kids.
Severe cross bite is the condition where the upper teeth close inside the lower teeth. To treat this problem, a device called a palatal expander can be used, which gradually and painlessly widens the upper jaw; it’s especially effective when the jaw itself hasn’t fully developed. If we wait too long, a more complicated treatment—or even oral surgery—might be required to correct the problem.
Another condition that may benefit from early treatment is severe crowding. This occurs when the jaws are too small to accommodate all of the permanent teeth. Either palatal expansion or tooth extraction may be recommended at this point, to help the adult teeth erupt (emerge from below the gums) properly. Even if braces are required later, the treatment time will likely be shorter and less complicated.