The American (AAO) and Canadian ( CAO) Associations of Orthodontists recommend that children have their first orthodontic evaluation or screening no later than age 7. At that age:
- it is the ideal age to evaluate children’s dentition; some of the permanent teeth have already erupted but there are still many temporary teeth in the mouth. This is referred to as a “mixed dentition”;
- face and jaw development are well under way and many orthodontic problems can be detected;
- early detection and intervention can reduce the severity of certain problems and the need for treatment modalities that are longer, more complex and more expensive (jaw surgery, extraction of permanent teeth, etc.);
- orthodontic treatment may not be necessary but proper supervision can help plan for the most advantageous time to begin treatment;
- individual variations exist between children with regard to their growth and development (some mature earlier than others) but a first evaluatin at age 7 is a good rule of thumb for most children.
When it has been determined that some problems are developing, certain preventive measures may be undertaken to prevent these conditions from worsening.The key to preventin is regular supervision by the orthodontist.
Here are examples of simple preventive measures that the orthodontist may recommend:
Upper removable space maintainer preventing tooth migration and space loss.
- if present, to have caries between the teeth repaired by your dentist in order to avoid loss of tooth structure and space loss in the dental arch;
- reducing the width of some temporary teeth or extracting some of them to facilitate the eruption of the underlying permanent teeth and minimize dental crowding problems;
- the use of simple appliances, such as space maintainers, to keep the space available in the dental arches during the eruption of the teeth and prevent worse eruption problems from developing.
The use of an upper space maintainer allowed adequate eruption of the permanent teeth.