The American Association of Orthodontists recommends that a child receive a screening exam by age 7 or earlier if a problem is noticed. An early examination allows the orthodontist to determine when a child's particular problem should be treated for maximum improvement with the least amount of time and expense. If early orthodontic treatment is recommended the objectives and benefits are to:

  • Influence the growth of the jaws in a positive manner
  • Improve the width of the jaws
  • Reduce or eliminate the need to extract permanent teeth
  • Correct harmful oral habits
  • Reduce appearance consciousness during critical developmental years
  • Reduce the possibility of impacted permanent teeth
  • Guide permanent teeth into more favorable positions
  • Preserve or gain space for erupting permanent teeth

If the benefits outweigh the time, effort, and expense involved, then early treatment is the appropriate choice. If early treatment is not recommended, then the patient will be monitored and observed at intervals to assess eruption of the teeth and facial growth so that treatment can be performed at the proper time.

Problems to Watch for in Children

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