Early Treatment


Early Orthodontic Treatment in Virginia Beach, Norfolk & Chesapeake

When it comes to your child's teeth and visiting the orthodontist, did you know that earlier may be better than later? According to the American Association of Orthodontists, kids should have an initial orthodontic screening at age 7. What makes early evaluation, and early treatment, so important? Click here to learn more about the American Association of Orthodontists and their recommendations for kids, or call our office in Norfolk, Chesapeake, and Virginia Beach to discuss early orthodontic treatment today!

Why Visit A Kid’s Orthodontist?

At Eastern Virginia Orthodontics, we believe there are several ways that kids can benefit from seeing an orthodontist at an early age. It's important to recognize that early evaluation isn't necessarily followed by early treatment. In most cases, if orthodontic work is needed, your kids orthodontist in Virginia Beach will simply monitor your child's growth patterns until it's time for treatment to begin. This gives us an opportunity to get the best results in the most efficient way, and to help prevent future problems.

Although every child's development is different, in most kids the first adult molars have typically started to emerge by around age six. This, along with other developmental markers, lets us get a handle on the basic alignment of the teeth, from front to back and side to side. It may also be possible at this point to determine whether there is adequate room in the mouth for all of the permanent teeth, and if not, to take action.

When Earlier Treatment Is Better In Chesapeake

Treatment for common orthodontic problems typically begins around age 9-14, when all of the baby teeth are gone. There are some conditions that are much easier to treat if they're caught at an early age, when a child's natural growth processes are going full speed ahead, these include:

  • Crossbite: a condition where the upper teeth close inside theClose Up Of Teeth With a Crossbite lower teeth. To treat this problem, a device called a palatal expander can be used, which gradually and painlessly widens the upper jaw. It's especially effective when the jaw itself hasn't fully developed. 
  • Severe Crowding: occurs when the jaws are too small to Close Up Of Teeth With Crowding accommodate all of the permanent teeth. Either palatal expansion or tooth extraction may be recommended at this point to help the adult teeth erupt properly. 
  • Protruding Teeth: protruding teeth, especially in front, can be proneClose Up Side View Of Protruding Teeth to chipping and fractures; they may also lead to problems with a child's self-image. 
  • Underbite: caused by the lower jaw growing much larger than the upper jaw, can result in serious bite problems. Orthodontic appliances, including braces and headgear, can be successfully used to correct these problems at this stage, when the child's development is in full swing.

Correcting Bad Habits With Your Kids Orthodontist

There are some situations where a child’s habits can actually influence the development and function of his or her teeth, jaws, and mouth. Some examples of these are persistent thumb sucking, tongue thrusting, and mouth breathing.

  • Thumb sucking: the sucking reflex is natural in early childhood; itChild With Thumb In Mouth, Inside Of Cheek With Arrows Pointing Right and Left. Text Reads - Dangers Of Thumb Sucking - If Thumb Sucking Persists After The Primary Teeth Have Erupted, It Can Change The Growth Patterns Of The Jaw, And Cause Significant Misalignment of The Teeth usually disappears between ages 2 and 4. If it persists much later, the pressure of the finger on the front teeth and the upper jaw can actually cause the teeth to move apart and the jaws to change shape. This can lead to the orthodontic problem called “open bite,” and may impair speech. 
  • Tongue thrusting: An open bite can also be caused by the force of the tongue pushing forward against the teeth in a motion called tongue thrusting.
  • Mouth breathing: an abnormal breathing pattern in which the mouth always remains open, passing air directly to the lungs. It is related to alterations in the muscular function of the tongue and face. It may cause the upper and lower jaw to grow abnormally, which can lead to serious orthodontic problems. 

Various orthodontic treatments are available to help correct these childhood habits. That's one more reason why you should bring your child in for an early orthodontic screening. The sooner you see your kids orthodontist, the sooner their teeth will be on the right path for life. 

Schedule Your Visit With Our Kids Orthodontist in Norfolk Today!

If you are looking for a great kids orthodontist in Norfolk, Virginia Beach, or Chesapeake, come visit Eastern Virginia Orthodontics. Our orthodontic team will be more than happy to acquaint you and your little one with our office, perform an initial screening, and answer any questions you may have. Schedule your first consultation online or call one of our offices directly. We look forward to seeing you soon.