When Is The Best Time to Begin Orthodontic Treatment?

girl showing dental braces.Simply put, the answer is… it depends! That being said, there are situations where “early intervention” is the best choice rather than waiting for all or most of the permanent teeth to erupt.

Many developing orthodontic problems can be “intercepted” and corrected if diagnosed and treated at an early age. Early treatment is often referred to as interceptive or Phase 1. The critical decision to treat early should be based on very specific diagnostic guidelines.

Dr. Mark Feinberg and our team at Feinberg Orthodontics recommends children have their first orthodontic evaluation no later than age seven, or younger if the front four permanent teeth have replaced the baby teeth. This provides us with the insights for timely detection of problems and greater opportunity for more effective treatment. Early intervention guides growth and development, preventing serious problems later on.

What About Overtreatment!?

Unfortunately, there are too many instances of children having braces put on their front four permanent teeth just for the sake of having braces on. For instance, straightening of mildly crooked front teeth in a young child is not a valid reason for early intervention. This will merely result in a child having their braces on for an extended period of time.  Often the same problem can be solved when the patient is in the late mixed dentition. At Mark Feinberg Orthodontics we bring our vast experience, knowledge and high ethical standards to the care of our patients. We will only recommend treatment at the appropriate age. Our decisions are driven by precise orthodontic diagnosis and not motivated by financial gain.  Observation and supervision for most young patients is the non-treatment of choice. This is totally complimentary and allows us to properly oversee the patient’s dental development and determine the APPROPRIATE  time to actively intervene.

Red Flags

If your child is showing these signs, it may be time to think about early orthodontic treatment:

  • Early or late loss of baby teeth (your child should typically start losing teeth around age five or six, and will have all their permanent teeth in around age 12 to 13)
  • Difficulty chewing and/or biting
  • Mouth breathing
  • Sucking his or her thumb
  • Speech impediment
  • Protruding teeth (the top teeth and the bottom teeth extend away from each other)
  • Crowded front teeth
  • Teeth that don’t come together in a normal manner or even at all

Early intervention can significantly reduce the severity of your child’s case, and so reduce the length of treatment time. It can also provide the orthodontist with more treatment options as well since the patient is actively growing and we can tap into the patient’s growth potential.

An evaluation at our Shelton, CT office will determine if your child’s dental and skeletal growth is proceeding properly or if interceptive treatment is needed. Many times, a more severe problem can be corrected using sophisticated removable appliances instead of traditional orthodontic treatment.

To schedule a consultation for your child to visit with Dr. Mark Feinberg, please give us a call at 203-513-2014 now! We will provide your child with an initial exam, and discuss with you the best steps to take toward caring for your child’s smile.

If you have any questions about Orthodontic treatment, don’t hesitate to contact our office, Mark Feinberg Orthodontics. Also please feel free to request a copy of our resource guide on early orthodontic care.

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