The who, what, when, where, and how of orthodontic treatment can be a daunting pile of questions regardless of whether your first or your seventh child is due for some wires. And while it may seem early, the American Association of Orthodontics actually recommends that children have an orthodontic evaluation by the age of 7.
â€œEarly intervention is great prevention,â€ explains orthodontist and Invisalign specialist Dr. Jacqueline Fulop-Goodling. Though a child is hardly an adult at age 12, their mouth is actually full-grown around that age. By evaluating a childâ€™s mouth by around age 7, dentists can use the malleability of a growing mouth to correct jaw discrepancies and crowding issues with growth modification appliances like an arch or palate expander even before starting a treatment with braces.
There are many options in the field today, from wire braces that allow for less frequent and less painful visits, to clear braces that remain a popular cosmetic choice, and from bonded retainers that fit on the backside of the front teeth to the clear Invisalign trays. But it is important for treatment options to be individualized to your childâ€™s needs as diagnosed by your childâ€™s orthodontist.
Orthodontist Dr. Mark Bronsky, who has a practice on the Upper East Side, says that while many people consider orthodontic work to be a mainly cosmetic issue, â€œthe goal is for long-term health. If the teeth fi t together in a way that is close to the way they should, they tend to be more stable and healthy in the long term.â€ And with the right treatment, Dr. Bronsky adds, â€œkids gain some serious self-esteem benefitsâ€ in the process.