When it comes to a child’s health and well being, parents will spare no expense. But often, parents feel intimidated by the potential cost and process of orthodontic treatment for their children. Here, we outline when early treatment is necessary and then discuss early orthodontic treatment pros and cons so you can decide what’s right for you and your child.
When Is Early Treatment Appropriate?
Early orthodontic treatment is appropriate when there are problems that would cause permanent damage to teeth or gum tissue if they are not addressed. Similarly, a growth discrepancy between the upper and lower jaws can warrant early treatment. Issues involving alignment and spacing can be addressed when all the permanent teeth are present.
Pro: Early Treatment Bypasses Social Stigmas
If the child needs orthodontic treatment, from a purely social perspective, the seven-to-eleven age range is an ideal time for children to receive it. We can fix their bite before they enter into team sports where they risk additional facial and jaw injury. When children enter their teen years, they become more socially conscious and are less likely to embrace a procedure like braces. Administering treatment when they’re young avoids these factors entirely.
Con: Small Children Have Limited Patience
Children are more than capable of understanding basic orthodontic procedures, but their attention spans are still developing. You and your child must commit together to their treatment for it to be effective. This means regular checkups with your orthodontist, proper oral hygiene, and avoiding certain foods that can damage their hardware.
The trick is to make them feel like they’re in charge of their treatment. Talking to them plainly about everything that’s involved in their orthodontic care will make them think they’re part of the decision making, and get them engaged. Explaining to them that they can achieve an ideal smile and a healthy lifestyle can help with motivation as well.
Pro: Early Evaluation Doesn’t Always Mean Treatment is Necessary
Many parents worry that if they bring their child to an orthodontist to be evaluated, they’ll end up having to pay for treatment. Getting your child evaluated early doesn’t necessarily mean they’ll need orthodontic treatment. In fact, it’s unnecessary to treat a child in certain situations because their mouths are still forming. Often, we find that when parents bring in their young children, we elect to simply watch their teeth and bite develop. We only prescribe what is absolutely medically necessary to prevent painful conditions later on.