Orthodontic Success: A Matter of Timing?

OrthodonticsWhen you were an adolescent, you may have noticed that your classmates typically gained a bit of metallic flare to their smiles sometime during junior high or high school. The standard age for braces a decade or two ago was much different than it is today. Now, we are seeing children of noticeably younger age sporting various types of orthodontic appendages. What gives? And how do you know when the timing is right for your child? The answer isn’t always simple, but we will try to shed some light on your path.

Dental Age

In the dental field, there is such a thing as “dental age.” This term describes a level of oral development that involves the growth of permanent teeth, as well as the state of root development in those permanent teeth. A child may blow out 8 or 9 candles on her next birthday cake, and yet her dental age may be 12 or 13. In such an instance, it would be most beneficial to recommend orthodontic treatment based on the level of physical maturity coupled with the presence of orthodontic issues.

Official Age

There is a formal recommendation that has been made by the American Association of Orthodontists, that dentists should perform the orthodontic evaluation on pediatric patients starting at the age of 7 (between 7 and 9). During this time, there may still be several baby teeth in each arch. However, it is possible to assess spacing, which enables us to predict whether or not permanent teeth may grow in straight, or be met with resistance in the form of crowding.

Obvious Signs

There are obvious signs that your child may need early orthodontic care. If permanent teeth are growing in over baby teeth, orthodontic care is warranted. If the top front teeth close far in front of the lower front teeth, there is an indication of overbite.

If you didn’t already know, your dentist loves to take a proactive stance against all dental problems. Misalignment and malocclusion are two conditions that can have a large, detrimental impact on the physical and psychological well-being of any person.

With proper timing, orthodontic care can make a big difference in a smile. Learn more about our orthodontic services at 304-845-2480.


Posted in: Orthodontics

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