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Some children as early as 5 or 6 years of age may benefit from an orthodontic evaluation. Although treatment is unusual at this early age, some preventative treatment may be indicated. By age 7, most children have a mix of baby (primary) and adult (permanent) teeth. We recommend that all children get a check-up with an orthodontist no later than age 7.
While your child’s teeth may appear straight to you, there could be a problem only an orthodontist can correct. Of course, the check-up may reveal that your child’s bite is fine, and that is comforting news. Even if a problem is detected, a “wait-and-see” approach may be best, checking your child from time to time as the permanent teeth come in and the jaws and face continue to grow. For each patient there is an ideal time for treatment to begin in order to achieve the best results. Dr. Leydon has the expertise to determine when the treatment time is right for your child.
Some common orthodontic problems seen in children can be traced to genetics, that is they may be inherited from their parents. Children may experience dental crowding, too much space between teeth, protruding teeth, and extra or missing teeth and sometimes jaw growth problems. Other malocclusions (literally, “bad bite”) are acquired. In other words, they develop over time. They can be caused by thumb or finger-sucking, mouth breathing, dental disease, abnormal swallowing, poor dental hygiene, the early or late loss of baby teeth, accidents or poor nutrition. Trauma and other medical conditions such as birth defects may contribute to orthodontic problems as well. Sometimes an inherited malocclusion is complicated by an acquired problem. Whatever the cause, Dr Leydon is usually able to treat most conditions successfully.
Dr Leydon’s advanced training means she can spot subtle problems with jaw growth and emerging teeth while some baby teeth are still present. The advantage for patients of early detection of orthodontic problems is that some problems may be easier to correct if they are found and treated early. Waiting until all the permanent teeth have come in, or until facial growth is nearly complete, may make correction of some problems more difficult.
In some cases early treatment may prevent more serious problems from developing and may make treatment at a later age shorter and less complicated. For those patients who have clear indications for early orthodontic intervention, early treatment gives Dr. Leydon the chance to:
It’s not always easy for parents to tell if their child has an orthodontic problem. Here are some signs or habits that may indicate the need for an orthodontic examination: