Nowadays, more and more parents are looking for orthodontic treatment for their children, but unfortunately without knowing what is the most suitable time to start it. In Greek society, the perception has erroneously prevailed – for all children without exception – that the most correct timing is with the completion of the permanent dentition, or at the age of 10-11 years. Many times, this opinion is cultivated or reinforced by the dentist or pediatric dentist who attends the young patient.
Based on the American Orthodontic Society, the first visit to the orthodontist should be at the age of 7, together with a panoramic and a lateral cephalometric x-ray. The orthodontist – considering the clinical and radiographic findings – will diagnose the possible dental and skeletal problems and determine the dental age of the young patient. With the term dental age we refer to the degree of development and maturation of the mouth, which does not always coincide with the biological age of the child. For example, in the fourth grade there are children who have replaced all their permanent teeth and others who have eight permanent teeth. Also, girls are in the majority dentally more advanced than boys.
When there are only dental problems – that is, incorrect positions of the teeth in the dental arches – the start of orthodontic treatment is directly linked to the dental age. It begins when the orthodontist sees on the panoramic x-ray that the expected permanent teeth will erupt within the next two years, which is the average duration of a typical orthodontic treatment.
In the case of skeletal problems, such as micrognathia of the upper jaw and/or prognathism of the lower jaw, and especially in girls, orthodontic intervention should be done at the very young ages of 6-8 years, because these problems are better and easier to treat in periods tissue growth and certainly before the peak of the growth curve at puberty.
Regarding parafunctional habits, such as swallowing with the tongue pushed forward or finger sucking, it is true that the earlier we intervene by placing mechanisms to stop these incorrect habits, the smaller the problem that the orthodontist will be called upon to treat later.
In summary, we could say that the ideal age for starting orthodontic age is not a given, nor the same for all children. It depends on many parameters, which only the specialist orthodontist can assess, in order to make the best time planning, with the best results, in the shortest period of time. You can visit Great Smile orthodontic clinic, so that the orthodontist can evaluate the dental condition of your child combined with his – her physical age and provide you with the best possible solution!