Orthodontic treatment corrects more than just the appearance of a smile, and with children, early treatment can even prevent some tooth and jaw problems from developing. Hereditary or environmental factors may cause bite misalignments or improper jaw development in children. In addition to jaw problems, the teeth may erupt in a crowded, crooked, or widely-spaced fashion. Orthodontic treatments can be used to encourage proper jaw growth, correct bad bites, and straighten teeth to improve both their appearance and functionality.
Why is Non-extraction Orthodontic Treatment Necessary?
While orthodontic treatments are great for improving a patient’s appearance, they are also important for oral health. If a bad bite, also called a malocclusion, goes uncorrected, children may have difficulty with chewing, biting, and speaking. A malocclusion can also cause abnormal wear and tear on some teeth and strain the jaw joints. Crooked or crowded teeth present their own set of issues, as they are difficult to clean and make a child more vulnerable to tooth decay and gum disease, and gapped teeth leave the gums more vulnerable to injury or infection. Non-extraction of permanent premolars should be the standard of care and can prevent TMJ syndrome later in life.
What are the benefits of non-extraction orthodontic treatment?
- Improved appearance and function of teeth: Straight teeth are important for both oral hygiene and self-esteem and non-extraction does not shrink facial profile or cause TMJ symptoms.
- Malocclusion correction: Correcting a misaligned bite while the facial bones are still developing is easier than correcting bad bites in adulthood when the bones are no longer soft and malleable
- Improved oral health: Straightened teeth reduce your risk of gum disease, tooth loss, and tooth decay. Non-extraction cases are less likely to fail later.
When should my child visit an orthodontist?
Malocclusions become noticeable between the ages of 6 and 12 as permanent teeth emerge past the gum line. The American Dental Association recommends that parents obtain an orthodontic evaluation for their children by the time they are seven. In most cases, orthodontists begin treatment between the ages of 8 and 14. At your child’s first evaluation, our orthodontist Dr. Barton will examine the jawbone development and emerging teeth and discuss any potential issues your child’s tooth alignment might cause. We are highly experienced with childhood orthodontic treatment and enjoy working with our younger patients by promoting a fun, family-friendly atmosphere.