At Oceans Orthodontics and Pediatric Dentistry, all patients are screened for orthodontic needs at age 7 and periodically as they grow up. This is because there are certain dentoskeletal (teeth and face) functional and developmental issues that are best treated in childhood, typically around 7-9 years old. Early correction of these issues promotes healthy growth and development and minimizes unrecoverable side effects including facial and skeletal asymmetries, dentofacial trauma (broken teeth) and tooth impactions (teeth being stuck in the bone). Orthodontic issues addressed at this age include anterior crossbites, posterior crossbites, severe overbites, underbites, impactions and severe crowding. These are treated with appliances like expanders, deimpactors and partial braces (two by four’s).
Some people are under the impression that no orthodontic treatment should be started until all of the adult teeth are in or even until a person is done growing. This traditional view is now known to be only partially true. While Dr. Frank waits until all of the adult teeth are in for comprehensive treatment (full braces), there are many orthodontic problems which can and should be treated at a younger age. Early orthodontia may not always be able to prevent the need for comprehensive orthodontics, but it is often able to guide healthy growth and development and to prevent progressive problems that would be very complex and challenging to treat later in life.