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Orthodontists today can successfully correct most problems regardless of the patient’s age. But that does not mean that the orthodontic treatment starting age does not matter. In fact it may play a significant role in the total time and expenses required for the completion of the orthodontic treatment.

When most people think of orthodontics, they think of teenagers. And the fact is, most orthodontic treatment begins between the ages of 9 and 14, however, by age 7, most children have a mix of adult and baby teeth. Orthodontists can spot subtle problems with jaw growth and emerging teeth while some baby teeth are still present. That's important, because some orthodontic problems are easier to correct if they're found early.

For these reasons, the American Association of Orthodontists recommends that your child get an orthodontic check-up no later than age 7. While your child's teeth may appear to be straight, there could be a problem that only an orthodontist can detect. Of course, the check-up may reveal that your child's bite is fine, and that can be comforting news.

Even if a problem is detected, your orthodontist may not recommend immediate treatment. Chances are, Dr. Elison will take a "wait-and-see" approach, checking on your child from time to time as the permanent teeth come in and the jaws and face continue to grow. For each patient who needs treatment, there's an ideal time for treatment to begin in order to achieve the best results.

In some cases, Dr. Elison might find a problem that can benefit from early treatment. Early treatment may prevent more serious problems from developing, and may make treatment at a later age shorter and less complicated. Typically, early treatment involves the use of orthodontic appliances, which may be removable, to guide the growth of young bones and create a better environment for adult teeth as they emerge. In some cases, the orthodontist will be able to achieve results that wouldn't be possible once the face and jaws have finished growing.

Early treatment gives your orthodontist the chance to:
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