It is important for young children to undergo orthodontic screening by the age of 8-10 years. This screening helps to identify developing bite or jaw problems; by having the assessment completed early, it may be treated early and does not allow the condition to worsen or create more complex treatment in the future.
The aim of early treatment is to address any underlying jaw problems. By having treatment completed earlier, it makes future orthodontic treatment with braces simpler. It is important to note that while braces move teeth, it does not correct the underlying jaw structure. Often through correcting the jaw structure, it allows us to position the teeth into their correct positions, creating the ideal smile.
In late teens and adults, correcting this same jaw structure when the bones have hardened could mean jaw surgery may be required, with additional costs, time and complexity of treatment. In other words, early orthodontic treatment does not prevent braces, but it allows your child to attain ideal smile outcomes.
Treatment can be something simple, like wearing a plate or having an expander, which all help to prevent the crowding from worsening as more adult teeth develop.
Often, when there is no clear benefit of early treatment, we will review the teeth and jaw development till a later time, when most of the adult teeth have erupted.