American Association of Orthodontists’ Recommendation for Early Orthodontic Screening:
Why screen by age 7?
The posterior occlusion or “bite” is established when the first molars erupt. At that time, one can evaluate the antero-posterior and transverse relationships of the occlusion, as well as discover any functional shifts.
Incisors have begun to erupt and problems can be detected such as crowding, habits, deep bites, open bites and some facial asymmetries.
For some, a timely screening will lead to significant treatment benefits; for most, the principal immediate benefit is a parent’s peace of mind.
The dentist who makes timely referrals is rightly regarded as informed, caring and concerned for the total well being of the patient.
The benefits of early treatment:
For those patients who have clear indications for early intervention, early treatment presents the opportunity to:
- Influence jaw growth in a positive manner
- Harmonize width of the dental arches
- Improve eruption patterns
- Lower risk of trauma to protruded upper incisors
- Correct harmful oral habits
- Improve aesthetics and self-esteem
- Simplify and/or shorten treatment time for later corrective orthodontics
- Reduce likelihood of impacted permanent teeth
- Improve some speech problems
- Preserve or gain space for erupting permanent teeth