Early Treatment

Your Trusted Centreville & Easton Orthodontist

Royal Palm EstatesAt Serino Orthodontics, we proudly specialize in a variety of orthodontic treatments, including braces and Invisalign, for patients of all ages throughout Cambridge, Chestertown and beyond. Orthodontic treatment can work wonders at any age—but did you know that when it comes to your youngster's teeth, earlier may be better than later? According to the American Association of Orthodontists, a child should have their first orthodontic screening by the age of 7. Keep reading to learn why.


The Importance of Early Orthodontics

Although every child's development is different, adult molars typically start to emerge around age 6. This, along with other developmental factors, allows your orthodontist to accurately evaluate the alignment of the teeth, determine whether there is adequate room in the mouth for all of the permanent teeth to erupt properly, and correct the issue if not.

orthodontic-problemsConditions That Benefit From Early Treatment

Treatment for common orthodontic problems typically begins around age 9-14, when all of the baby teeth are gone and many of the permanent ones are in place. But 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.

One is severe crossbite, a condition where many or all of the upper teeth close inside the lower teeth. To treat this problem, a device called a palatal expander can be used, which gradually and painlessly widens the upper jaw. It is especially effective when the jaw itself hasn't fully developed. If we wait too long, a more complicated treatment — or even oral surgery — might be required to correct the problem.

Another condition that may benefit from early treatment is severe crowding. This occurs when the jaws are too small to accommodate all of the permanent teeth. Either palatal expansion or a gentle dental arch development technique with early partial braces, known as Damon Braces may be recommended at this point, to help the adult teeth erupt (emerge from below the gums) properly. Even if braces are required later, the treatment time will likely be shorter and less complicated. Early intervention can also be helpful in correcting several other problems. Protruding teeth, especially in front, can be prone to chipping and fractures, and they can also cause problems with a child's self-image. A severe underbite, caused by the lower jaw growing much larger than the upper jaw, can result in serious bite problems. At this stage, when the child's development is in full swing, these problems can be successfully corrected with orthodontic appliances like Maryland braces and headgear, increasing the chance that surgery can be avoided.

Correcting Bad Habits


In some instances, certain childhood habits can actually influence the development and function of a child's teeth, jaws and mouth. These include:

  • Thumb sucking—The sucking reflex is natural in early childhood, and it usually disappears between ages 2 and 4. But if it persists much later, the teeth can actually move apart, causing the jaws to change shape. This can lead to the orthodontic problem called "open bite," and may impair speech.
  • Tongue thrusting can also contribute to orthodontic problems, most commonly an open bite. As the force of the tongue pushes forward against the teeth, the teeth and jaws can move apart, changing the smile and facial shape.
  • Mouth breathing—an abnormal breathing pattern in which the mouth always remains open, passing air directly to the lungs—may cause the upper and lower jaw to grow abnormally, which can lead to serious orthodontic problems. Although mouth breathing may start from a physical difficulty, it can become a habitual action that's hard to break.

Thankfully, there are various orthodontic treatments available to help correct these habits, and the sooner they're taken care of, the less damage they may cause. However, because these potential problems aren't always easy to recognize, you should bring your child in for an orthodontic screening as early as possible.

Book An Appointment with Your Maryland Orthodontist Today!

At Serino Orthodontics, we have created perfect, beautiful smiles for countless patients throughout Maryland, and we'd be thrilled to do the same for your child. Although our offices are located in Centreville and Easton, we are proud to treat patients throughout Cambridge, Chestertown, and beyond. To start your child on the path to a healthy smile for life, book an appointment today, or contact us with any questions related to braces, Invisalign, or any other orthodontic treatment. We can't wait to see you soon!

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