Age 7, unless you suspect a problem at an earlier age, because most facial asymmetries are likely to be apparent by that time. A timely screening will lead to extraordinary treatment benefits. For others, the principle benefit is peace of mind.
Early diagnosis and treatment can guide erupting teeth into a more favorable position, preserve space for the permanent teeth and reduce the likelihood of fracturing protruded front teeth. Also, early treatment may shorten treatment time, make treatment easier and in some cases less expensive. It may even provide advantages that are not available later.
Orthodontic therapy may eliminate the need for other medical and dental treatment. The physical and psychological benefits usually last a lifetime, which makes orthodontics one of the best investments in healthcare and quality of life.
Appearance has been related to popularity, social behaviors, self-expectation, personality style, and self-esteem. Orthodontic therapy may lessen the likelihood that a child will be picked on by other children. Treatment may reduce appearance-consciousness and the emotional scarring that can occur during critical developmental years. Also, as adolescents enter the sensitive teenage years, they become far less receptive to orthodontic therapy.
Additional benefits may include better function, improved cleanability, more favourable wear patterns and greater longevity of natural teeth.
This is the time when much of the development of the face occurs. Treatment during this period allows the orthodontist to favourably influence the facial profile in a growing child. Once growth of the facial bones is complete, correction of skeletal discrepancies usually requires surgery.
If in doubt, refers. If you notice a problem and refer to a specialist, your legal and professional responsibilities are fulfilled. Also, an early referral can avoid more complex problems that may worsen with time.
The problem may be one of opportunities missed with respect to growth and development. While patients can be treated at any age, those with available growth may enjoy a substantial advantage. Timely treatment may prevent the need for jaw surgery, extraction of permanent teeth, or fracture of protruded incisors. Early treatment may also help the psychological development. Patients also benefit from guidance of tooth eruption.