Many parents assume they must wait until their child has all of his or her permanent teeth to see Dr. MacKenzie for an orthodontic consultation. However, in many cases, treatment would have been much easier if started earlier.
The American Association of Orthodontists recommends that every child have an orthodontic check-up no later than age seven.
So why age 7? At this age the permanent molars have erupted and allowing us to check for malocclusion or “bad bite” such as an overbite or an underbite. Also, all the permanent incisors have erupted and Dr. MacKenzie can evaluate if there is crowding, deep bites and open bites. The orthodontist can see all the permanent teeth on a panoramic x-ray allowing her to diagnose missing teeth or malaligned teeth even before they come in. Additionally, Dr. MacKenzie can determine the growth pattern of the upper and lower jaws and diagnose a jaw overbite or a jaw underbite.
Orthodontic evaluation at age seven does not actually mean that orthodontic treatment will start at this age. At the complimentary initial consultation, will review the clinical exam, photos and x-rays with the patient and the parents. Most of the patients at MacKenzie Orthodontics are not treated at age seven and instead continue to be evaluated by the orthodontists every 6-12 months to make sure that the permanent teeth are erupting properly and the upper and lower jaws are growing proportionately. These “growth and development checks” are also complimentary.
For some patients, early correction of problems leads to easier and shorter orthodontic treatment in the future. Problems such as crossbites, underbites, and asymmetrical shifts of the lower jaw are easier to correct at a younger age and their treatment prevents further problems later on. For some children, early treatment can prevent tooth injury and can allow for good oral hygiene due to improved tooth alignment. Early treatment is meant to correct “urgent” orthodontic problems before they become difficult to manage. Some examples of early treatment are palatal expanders to correct crossbites and limited braces to make space for crowded teeth.
So, if your child is nearing his or her seventh birthday, give us a call at MacKenzie Orthodontics in Saint John, NB to schedule a complimentary consultation.