Every parent wants their child to be able to smile with confidence but for many that’s not the only reason to investigate orthodontics at an early age. While the average age for orthodontic treatment is 12 years old, we at Whitlock Orthodontics have a mission to focus on children 7 and up. We’ll even do a consult on children as young as 5. Why?
Early Orthodontic treatment has many benefits. Not only are your kids young enough to still think braces are cool, but an orthodontic consult at an early age can catch future issues and adjust for them before they become problems. Some of these issues include:
- Airway Obstruction: well developed airways allow normal breathing through the nose when the mouth is closed. While this may sound trivial, nasal breathing is important because it’s now known to be vital to good health. Airway obstruction has been linked to developmental delays, sleep disorders, behavioral disturbances, and later can lead to hypertension, stroke, heart disease and even premature death. These sound scary but the treatment is easy if we are able to catch it early on!
- Crossbites: by age 7 most children’s permanent molars and incisors have come in. A trained eye can see early on if crowding or crossbites will be an issue as the rest of your child’s permanent teeth come in. The earlier treatment begins, the easier it will be because your child’s jaw is less developed at this early age and can be guided along the right path rather than working to reverse issues at a later age.
- Overcrowding: Traditionally, orthodontists would say wait until age 11 or 12 to treat a crowding problem, but the problem isn’t going to get any better by waiting. Early treatment has been proven to correct narrow arch and create space for the teeth as well as for the tongue so it may function correctly when swallowing. Plus, early treatment can avoid the need for future tooth extraction or jaw surgery.
The benefits to Early Orthodontic treatment are clear:
- Early treatment can also regulate the width of the upper and lower dental arches, gain space for permanent teeth, avoid the need for permanent tooth extractions, reduce likelihood of impacted permanent teeth, correct thumb-sucking, and eliminate abnormal swallowing or speech problems. In other words, early treatment can simplify later treatment. Speaking of…
- Two Phase Treatment. Phase 1 works with your young child to make space for their permanent teeth. Phase 2 begins once they’ve arrived. Often children who undergo Phase 1 treatment have a much shorter Phase 2. This makes life easier for both them and you as their schedules get busier and busier.
Knowing the importance of early orthodontics is only part of the battle. Now the question is: where do you go? Go to the practice where we focus on your child’s individual needs! Doctor Boyd Whitlock has earned the trust of many families. His office is fun, friendly and bilingual!
Contact us today for a free consultation! Email Lacy at [email protected] or call us at any of our local offices: Springdale: (479) 751-1103 | Fayetteville: (479) 527-6998 | Fort Smith: (479) 434-4332