Early Orthodontic Treatment

At Hoybjerg Family Orthodontics, we believe everyone deserves a beautiful, healthy smile, and our mission is to help our patients achieve one through high-quality orthodontic treatment. Our expert orthodontist is proud to treat patients of all ages with a variety of treatment options. We strive to make the treatment process as convenient as possible for our patients – and sometimes, that means starting treatment early.

For most patients, orthodontic treatment occurs during their teenage years, and many adults choose to revitalize their smile through adult orthodontic treatment. But in some cases, the best way to achieve a healthy smile is to start treatment early, in the form of early preventive orthodontic care.

The advantage of early orthodontic treatment is that it allows us to take advantage of the natural growth and development processes of the jaw in order to achieve the best possible smile. During childhood, the jaw isn’t fully formed: in fact, the left and right halves of the jaw are still separate bones. This means we can use specialized orthodontic appliances like palatal expanders to direct the growth of the jaw, sometimes literally expanding the jaw to make more room for teeth. This allows us to correct orthodontic problems before they grow too serious, preventing the need for much more extensive treatment later in life. Without this treatment, many patients would need orthodontic surgery as adults.

In keeping with the American Association of Orthodontists, we ask parents to bring their children in for an orthodontic evaluation by age 7. At this age, the back bite has established itself, which allows our Orthodontists to spot both current orthodontic problems and issues that may develop down the line.

For most patients, we won’t opt to start treatment after your initial evaluation: instead, we’ll simply monitor your child’s development until the proper time to start treatment, usually during adolescence. But for some patients, early orthodontic care will be necessary. In these cases, we may start treatment right away, or we may wait briefly before beginning treatment at age 8 or 9. In any case, our team will work to create the most comfortable, convenient treatment plan possible, and when early treatment is necessary, it will ensure your child spends the least amount of time possible in braces.

Ultimately, only a trained orthodontist can determine if a child needs treatment, so the only way to know if your child needs early treatment is to schedule a consultation. However, there are some surefire signs that orthodontic treatment may be necessary, so if you notice any of the following, it’s time to schedule a consultation:

  • Thumb sucking that continues past age 4 or 5
  • Teeth that don’t fit together normally when the mouth is closed
  • Difficulty chewing or biting
  • Early or late loss of baby teeth (tooth loss should start around age 5)
  • A jaw that shifts when your child opens or closes their mouth
  • Speech problems or impediments
  • Protruding teeth
  • Crowded front teeth that persist past age 7
  • Mouth breathing

This list isn’t exhaustive, and when it comes to orthodontic health, it’s always better to be safe than sorry. So if you notice your child developing any of these issues or any other orthodontic problem, reach out to us as soon as possible.

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While it isn’t necessary for everyone, early orthodontic treatment can be vital to helping a child achieve a healthy, beautiful smile. Think your child may benefit from early treatment? We’d love to help! We can’t wait to hear from you, and we’re excited to help you and your child achieve a beautiful, healthy smile!