Malocclusions like the ones shown above may benefit from early diagnosis and referral to an orthodontic specialist for a full evaluation.
Healthcare professionals who see children – including dentists, dental hygienists, pediatricians, family physicians, school nurses, physician assistants and nurse practitioners – may be the first to recognize that a child may have an orthodontic problem.
The American Association of Orthodontists (AAO) recommends that all children have an orthodontic check-up with a specialist at the first recognition of an orthodontic problem, but no later than age 7, for several reasons:
- Around 7 years of age, the permanent molars in the back should have erupted. At this point, an orthodontist can evaluate and discover if a patient has any deviation in the jaw growth or teeth eruption patterns. When the jaw is too narrow or small, it can result in a reverse bite relationship, which can lead to shifting of the jaw when a patient bites down. This can lead to uneven growth of the facial structure.
- Incisors have begun to erupt and problems can be detected such as crowding, habits, deep bites, open bites and some jaw discrepancies.
- For some, a timely evaluation will lead to significant treatment benefits; for others, the principal immediate benefit is a parent’s peace of mind.
The AAO does not advocate for comprehensive orthodontic treatment for all patients at age 7. However, interceptive treatment may be appropriate for the kinds of malocclusions pictured above.
Final treatment decisions should be made among the parent, child’s dentist and orthodontist.
Yang Orthodontics offers a Juniors’ Club program for 7 & up growth observation. To discuss any questions about recognizing your youngsters’ malocclusions, schedule your free consultation with Yang Orthodontics by clicking here, sending us a text, or giving us a call at 215-757-0864.