An orthodontic consultation is recommended for all children by age 7. Not every child at that age will require treatment. In fact, at MacKenzie Orthodontics, most children are seen every year for “monitoring” appointments until they are ready for treatment. Sometimes, however, early treatment is needed to correct growth-related issues that become much more difficult to correct later on.
One of the orthodontic problems that should be addressed early is a posterior crossbite (the upper teeth were crossed over with the lower teeth in the back). This type of bite is due to a small palate (upper jaw) which did not grow in width as much as the lower jaw. The causes can be genetic or sometimes a prolonged thumb habit can cause narrowing of the upper jaw. Usually, a narrow upper jaw will cause a shift of the lower jaw and the midlines of the upper and lower teeth will be mismatched.
The best time to correct a crossbite is between the ages of 8 and 10 before the palate fuses in that position. Usually at that time not all adult teeth have come in. This type of treatment is known as “Phase I” or “early” treatment: it focuses on fixing a growth-related issue that is much more difficult or impossible to fix later on. This is why we recommend an orthodontic consultation for all children before the adult teeth come in.
In the picture, the patient still had 12 baby teeth present. In the “before” images, the lower jaw is shifted to the right and the back teeth on the right are crossed over. The bite improved dramatically in 3 months with Invisalign. We’re so proud of this superstar patient and of the results we can achieve at MacKenzie Orthodontics!