An orthodontic specialist can improve a person's smile by braces at any age, but there is usually a best age for treatment to begin. Thus the old adage "Timing is everything" applies to orthodontics.

When it comes to deciding the right time for a child to begin an orthodontic treatment, Dr.Karthik Jayakumar, M.D.S., says every situation is unique. A specialist orthodontist in Sirajudeen Medical Center, karama, Dr. Karthik explains that some patients need treatment at a much earlier age than others. The general misconception being that ‘one has to wait till 12 yrs of age to visit an orthodontist’. Many parents and some family dentists assume that they must wait until a child has all of his or her permanent teeth, only to find out that treatment would have been much easier if started earlier.

The American Association of Orthodontists (AAO) recommends that all children see an orthodontist by age seven when the first permanent molars and incisors have usually come in and crossbites, crowding and protrusions can be evaluated.

Early treatment can eliminate the need for more drastic measures. In some cases, satisfactory results are unattainable once the face and jaws have finished growing. With proper timing, children may not have to endure years of embarrassment.

The major advantage of early diagnosis is to maximize the opportunity before 12 years to guide jaw growth and tooth eruption. Optimizing the treatment with the correct timing of the child’s growth and development is of utmost importance in these cases.

The main drawback of corrective treatment after permanent tooth eruption is tooth extraction or corrective jaw surgery may be required as well.

Early treatment provides the opportunity to:

  • Guide the growth of the young jaw bones. Sometimes a child’s upper or lower jaw may grow too much or too little. This may lead to either undergrowth or overgrowth of one or both the jaws. If undiagnosed in the growing stage of a child this may lead to a full blown jaw deformity in adulthood. When diagnosed early, the facial growth of a child can be redirected to give him ideal or near ideal facial proportions.

  • In correcting harmful sucking habits like thumb sucking which beyond 5-6 years of age may lead to jaw deformity, protruded and crowded teeth.

  • Early diagnosis also lowers the risk of trauma to prominent front teeth which are prone for fracture and to elevate the self esteem of a child who may feel inferior to others due to buck teeth.

  • To preserve or gain space for arriving permanent teeth.

  • And to detect developing Crossbites in the front or back teeth.

    Prevention is always better than correction and only a progressive orthodontist can locate and intercept certain problems with early treatment. Orthodontic treatment is always a change for the better, regardless of age. Due to hi-tech advances in orthodontics, treatment has become highly esthetic, child-friendly and comfortable.

    Overall, Dr. Karthik says, that he and his colleagues in Sirajudeen medical center, recommend that children visit an orthodontist at age seven. He adds, fortunately many young patients don't need anything more than observation while the permanent teeth are growing into place, however, some young patients may have problems that will not, or should not wait.

    Corrective treatment can very well be done in older individuals with equal results as long as the condition of the bone surrounding the teeth is healthy.

    So, if you or your family dentist see something that doesn’t appear normal - for example, a crowding or significant bite problem see an orthodontist right away.