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The use of functional appliances in early orthodontics treatment for children in Mississauga

A straight smile is not only important for aesthetics, but is also an integral part of maintaining oral health. When most people think about orthodontic treatment, they think about braces during the teen years. However, early orthodontic treatment (starting as young as age 8 or 9), can help correct the way the jaw is growing and address early bite problems. By addressing problems early, it allows the proper amount of space for the eruption of permanent teeth and lessens the need for later treatment or extraction. At our office, we believe in the importance of early orthodontic treatment (often referred to as Phase 1 treatment) and the use of functional appliances for children.

Mouth with braces on

Some signs that your child may need early orthodontic intervention:

  • Loss of baby teeth at an early or late age. (Most children begin losing their teeth around 5 years old and will have all of their permanent teeth by 12 or 13)
  • Biting and chewing problems
  • Extended thumb sucking (past the age of 5 or 6).
  • Speech impediments
  • Teeth that protrude or stick out away from each other
  • Teeth that do not line up when the mouth is closed
  • Overcrowding of front teeth

Determining what type of orthodontic appliance a child will need can be done during an evaluation. One of the most commonly corrected issues with early orthodontic treatment is the growth of the jaw. Appliances can help halt disproportional growth by redirecting the growth of the upper and lower jaw. This helps develop a skeletal balance and allows teeth to fit together correctly. In addition, it can also improve the shape and aesthetics of the face. This type of treatment is best done for children around age 8. During the early teen years, the jawbone begins to harden and stop growing. This occurs around 13.5 years old for girls and 14.5 years old for boys. At this point, orthodontic treatment will take longer to work and may involve extraction or surgery.

For children with mild crowding or orthodontic issues, treatment may be best once the majority of permanent teeth have erupted.

We recommend that all children receive orthodontic evaluations by the age of 7 years old to determine if any problems are present and the appropriate time to begin treatment.

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