Case Study: Early Orthodontics

iStock_Teenage Girls Braces_MediumJill took her pre-teen son, Brad, to the orthodontist for a consultation at twelve years old. She had braces as a teenager and had always assumed that was the optimal age for orthodontic treatment. Their initial visit was pleasant, informative, and as expected, Brad was a great candidate for braces. As she discussed his treatment plan with the staff, she made a comment that they would probably be seeing quite a bit of this office in the upcoming years as her younger daughter’s permanent teeth were just coming in and already she was seeing signs of crowded teeth. She was surprised when the orthodontist recommended that she bring Macey in for an evaluation as well- 8 years old seemed much too young to think about braces or orthodontic care.

She did some research online over the next week and discovered that the American Association of Orthodontists actually recommended kids be seen by age 7 to detect early problems. “Interceptive treatment” addressed oral health issues right as they were happening vs. waiting until all permanent teeth had already come in. It provided the chance to make room for crowded, erupting teeth, focus on bite problems early, and reduced the need for tooth removal. Being able to monitor oral development from an early age would allow treatment to begin at the most ideal time.  It could even decrease the time that wearing braces might be necessary.

Jill made an appointment for Macey with their orthodontist and she had her first visit.  While no immediate action was needed for her daughter, they scheduled a six-month follow-up visit to continue to watch her growth and talked about the possibility of creating more space for her permanent teeth as they continued to come in. While Jill was relieved that no urgent intervention was needed, she also felt piece-of-mind knowing that they were on top of her daughter’s oral health and would be able to address any issues that came up early and have the best chance for the most effective treatment.