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Orthodontists today can successfully correct most problems regardless of the patient’s age. But that does not mean that the orthodontic treatment starting age does not matter. In fact it may play a significant role in the total time and expenses required for the completion of the orthodontic treatment. Having been a general dentist for 12 years prior to becoming an orthodontist, Dr. Hook brings a vast knowledge of expertise and experience to diagnosing your treatment needs.

Early intervention can make a dramatic impact on establishing the proper occlusal foundation. The American Association of Orthodontists (AAO) recommends that all children have a check-up with an orthodontist by the time they reach age 7, for early detection of any potential problems. By the age 7, some of the permanent teeth have erupted, so that most children have a mix of adult and baby teeth. At this stage of mixed dentition, we can spot potential orthodontic problems related to jaw growth and eruption of adult teeth. Some growth-related orthodontic problems are easier to correct when they are identified early…while the facial bones are still growing.

An early exam allows us to determine how and when a child's particular jaw and/or dental problems should be corrected for the optimal results. Early treatment, or phase one therapy, may be needed to create a better environment to idealize the occlusion for the patient or possibly create an environment to elevate treatment forever. An early orthodontic examination does not always result in immediate treatment. After evaluating your child, we may simply want to monitor your child periodically while the permanent teeth erupt and the jaws and face continue to develop. While some Phase 1 (early treatment) is necessary, often it is unnecessary. We will carefully monitor the patient at no additional charge for the correct timing of treatment. Our office policy is to lookout for the welfare of the patient…not profit.

Signs that may mean your child needs to see an orthodontist:

  • Early or late loss of baby teeth
  • A hard time chewing or biting food
  • Mouth breathing
  • Finger or thumb sucking
  • Crowded, misplaced, or blocked teeth
  • Jaws that pop or make sounds when opening and closing
  • Teeth that come together abnormally, or do not come together at all
  • Jaws and teeth that are not proportionate to the rest of the face
  • Crowded front teeth around age seven or eight

Please contact our office to schedule an appointment for an orthodontic evaluation. Early treatment now will give your child a healthy, bright smile for the future.

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