When is the best time to begin orthodontics?

Though an orthodontist can enhance a smile at any age, there is an optimal time period to begin treatment. Beginning treatment at this time ensures the greatest result and the least amount of time and expense. The American Association of Orthodontists recommends that the initial orthodontic evaluation should occur at the first sign of orthodontic problems or no later than age 7. At this early age, orthodontic treatment may not be necessary, but vigilant examination can anticipate the most advantageous time to begin treatment.

What are the advantages of interceptive treatment?

Some of the most direct results of interceptive treatment are:

  • Creating room for crowded, erupting teeth.
  • Creating facial symmetry through influencing jaw growth.
  • Reducing the risk of trauma to protruding front teeth.
  • Preserving space for unerupted teeth.
  • Reducing the need for tooth removal.
  • Reducing treatment time with braces.

Are you a candidate for orthodontic treatment?

Orthodontics is not merely for improving the aesthetics of the smile; orthodontic treatment improves bad bites, also called malocclusions. Malocclusions occur because of tooth or jaw misalignment. Malocclusions affect the way you smile, chew, clean your teeth, or feel about your smile.

What are the benefits of early orthodontic evaluation?

Early evaluation provides both timely detection of problems and greater opportunity for more effective treatment. Prudent intervention guides growth and development, preventing serious problems later. When orthodontic intervention is not necessary, an orthodontist can carefully monitor growth and development and begin treatment when it is ideal.

Why is age 7 considered the optimal time for screening?

By the age of 7, the first adult molars erupt, establishing the back bite. During this time, an orthodontist can evaluate front-to-back and side-to-side tooth relationships. For example, the presence of erupting incisors can indicate possible overbite, open bite, crowding or gummy smiles. Timely screening increases the chances for an incredible smile.

Why should malocclusions be treated?

According to studies by the American Association of Orthodontists, untreated malocclusions can result in a variety of problems:

  • Crowded teeth are more difficult to properly brush and floss, which may contribute to tooth decay and/or gum disease.
  • Protruding teeth are more susceptible to accidental chipping.
  • Crossbites can result in unfavorable growth and uneven tooth wear.
  • Open bites can result in tongue-thrusting habits and speech impediments.

Treatment Team

Common Problems

Upper Front Teeth Protrusion (‘buck teeth’)

The appearance and function of your teeth are affected by this type of bite. It is characterized by the upper teeth extending too far forward or the lower teeth not extending far enough forward.


The upper front teeth overlap the lower front teeth too much. This can cause excessive wear on the top edge of the lower front teeth or can lead to pain if the lower front teeth bite into the roof of the mouth.


The upper back teeth bite on the inside of the lower teeth. This can cause the jaw to shift and grow misaligned and can also cause excessive tooth wear. May lead to jaw joint (TMJ) popping or pain.


The upper front teeth bite behind the lower front teeth. This can lead to difficulties in chewing and speaking. It can also put the front teeth at an increased likelihood of trauma and fracture.

Open Bite

Proper chewing is affected by this type of bite, in which the upper and lower front teeth do not overlap. Open bite may cause a number of unwanted habits, such as tongue thrusting.

Dental Crowding

Teeth have insufficient room to erupt into proper alignment. This can lead to difficult areas to clean, which could progress into periodontal problems.

Dental Spacing

Spacing may be due to many different issues. It can be unaesthetic and can lead to areas between teeth that can trap food.

Misaligned Dental Midlines

The center lines of the upper and lower teeth can be skewed due to missing teeth or bite-related issues with the back teeth.

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