Though an orthodontist can enhance a smile at any age, there is an optimal time period to begin treatment.
When is the best time to begin orthodontics?
Though an orthodontist can enhance a smile at any age, there is an optimal time period to begin treatment depending on the needs of the patient. The American Association of Orthodontists recommends that the initial orthodontic evaluation should occur at age 7 to assess these needs, however Dr. Barlow recommends age 8. Most of our patients DO NOT need orthodontics at this time, however there are certain problems that, if are not caught early, can lead to irreversible side effects such as wear and assymetric growth. It never hurts to have an exam, and rest assured Dr. Barlow will not recommend early treatment (or Phase I) unless it is truly necessary.
What are the benefits of early orthodontic evaluation?
Early evaluation provides both timely detection of problems that, if untreated, can cause serious problems later. Abnormal growth, severe wear and impaction of teeth are just some of the issues that can be avoided with proper intervention. When early orthodontic treatment is not necessary, Dr. Barlow can carefully monitor growth and development and begin treatment when it is ideal.
What does early treatment consist of?
It depends on the needs of the patient. Expanders to correct growth problems, braces to correct teeth at risk of trauma, etc. Dr. Barlow’s philosophy of early treatment is to only correct a problem that would lead to irreversible consequences and be as conservative as possible with Phase I treatment.