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Early Orthodontics

The American Association of Orthodontists recommends that all children have an orthodontic check-up no later than age 7

When most people think of orthodontics, they think of teenagers. However, by age 7, most children have a good mix of baby and adult teeth. Dr. Cooke can detect subtle problems with jaw growth and developing adult teeth while baby teeth are still present. Some orthodontic problems are easier and less complicated to correct when they are found earlier rather than later.

Some signs or habits that may indicate the need for an early orthodontic examination are:

  • early or late loss of baby teeth,
  • difficulty in chewing or biting,
  • mouth breathing,
  • thumb sucking,
  • finger sucking,
  • crowding, misplaced or blocked out teeth,
  • jaws that shift or make sounds,
  • biting the cheek or roof of the mouth,
  • teeth that meet abnormally or not at all, and
  • jaws and teeth that are out of proportion to the rest of the face.

What are the benefits of early treatment?

For those patients who have clear indications for early orthodontic intervention, early treatment presents an opportunity to:

  • guide the growth of the jaw,
  • regulate the width of the upper and lower dental arches (the arch-shaped jaw bone that supports the teeth),
  • guide incoming permanent teeth into desirable positions,
  • lower risk of trauma (accidents) to protruded upper incisors (front teeth),
  • correct harmful oral habits such as thumb- or finger-sucking,
  • reduce or eliminate abnormal swallowing or speech problems,
  • improve personal appearance and self-esteem,
  • potentially simplify and/or shorten treatment time for later corrective orthodontics,
  • reduce likelihood of impacted permanent teeth (teeth that should have come in, but have not), and
  • preserve or gain space for permanent teeth that are coming in

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