girl holding orthodontic appliances

A lot of parents ask me, “is it too early for my child to have braces?  She has a lot of growth left, so maybe she will grow into a better bite?”  The fact is that BECAUSE she is still growing is exactly why it is IMPORTANT to start treatment early if children need it.  Problems that can require early treatment include:

1. Severe crowding

2. Jaw growth discrepancies

In severe crowding, There is not enough room in the jaws for all of the teeth to come in properly, and can cause seriously misaligned teeth, or even tooth impaction, when a tooth gets stuck below the gumline, and cannot erupt into the mouth.   Occasionally, crowding is due to genetics, where a child is genetically coded for teeth that are larger than her jaws can develop, but more often, it is caused by the jaws simply failing to develop to their full potential.  This is where orthodontics comes in!  If you are concerned that your child’s teeth are crowded, bring him or her in to see me at West Arvada Orthodontics right away!   It may not even require braces to create more room in the jaws, help them develop better, and allow all the teeth to erupt into the correct positions!

In the case of jaw growth discrepancies, one of the jaws is growing smaller than the other.  More commonly,  it is the lower jaw, which can manifest as the chin appearing to be retruded back, a large overbite, or “buck teeth”.  Less commonly, the upper jaw isn’t growing forward enough and will manifest as an “underbite” in one or more teeth.  Both of these problems require early treatment while the child is still growing to help the jaws develop properly, again, sometimes not even requiring braces.  
The misconception lies is that while the jaws will continue to grow over time, without orthodontic intervention, the bite itself can trap the growth into growing in the wrong direction, which will require more invasive treatment later, once all the permanent teeth have erupted.  Early treatment can even often help prevent the need for jaw surgery later in life.   

Just as early orthopedic leg braces are needed to correct a club foot in a young child, ealy orthopedic braces are sometimes needed to correct a jaw growth problem.

If you have any inkling that your children might benefit from early treatment, bring them to West Arvada Orthodontics for a free consultation to find out if early treatment can be of benefit.  I will evaluate them to see if they need treatment, and if so, explain why, when is the right time to start, and what it would involve.

Dr. Jennifer Friedman