Historical Referral Patterns
General dentists receive limited education in orthodontics during their dental training. Historically, they were taught to observe malocclusion after the permanent teeth had erupted and then refer patients for orthodontic treatment. However, this approach needs to be updated and can result in unnecessary removal of permanent teeth and other issues. While orthodontic education in dental schools has improved, it is still not given significant emphasis due to the extensive range of skills dentists need to master prior to graduation.
Dr. Newhart and his orthodontic team are actively involved in educating general dentists about advanced orthodontic techniques and the benefits of referring children at a young age, typically between 3 to 6 years old. Early intervention is crucial because the head, face, and mouth complete their growth much earlier than the rest of the body. By promoting early referral, they aim to ensure that children receive timely orthodontic care and have the opportunity for better outcomes.
Growth of the Face and Mouth is the key to Prevention
At age 3, approximately 70% of facial and mouth growth is already complete, leaving 30% of growth remaining. Although treatment is rarely initiated at this young age, except in rare craniofacial situations, it highlights the importance of early monitoring and intervention.
By age 8, about 80% of facial and mouth growth is complete, with only 20% of growth remaining. This limited remaining growth becomes a critical factor for orthodontic treatment considerations, emphasizing the need for timely intervention to maximize the potential benefits of dental orthopedic treatment.
By age 13, around 90% of growth has occurred, leaving only 10% for further influence or prevention. It becomes evident that waiting until this stage is too late to achieve optimal outcomes. Ideally, we strive to provide orthodontic treatment to children between the ages of 6-7 or 8-9, at the latest, for most orthodontic issues to achieve the best possible results.
Advantages of early orthodontic examination include:
- Prevention: Early intervention intercepts and treats orthodontic problems more effectively, offering greater benefits compared to delaying treatment.
- Reduced Complexity: Addressing issues at a younger age requires less extensive treatment, simplifying the overall process.
- Increased Stability: Early treatment takes advantage of the malleable bones, resulting in improved stability of the teeth and jaws.
- Improved Psychology: Young children are receptive and motivated, making them ideal candidates for orthodontic treatment.
- Effective Removable Appliances: Orthopedic problems can be treated with removable appliances before they progress, minimizing the need for fixed appliances.
- Non-Extraction Treatment: Early intervention can often preserve all teeth, avoiding the need for tooth extractions in the future.
How the Orthodontist Decides if Early Treatment Is Needed
Achieving an exceptional outcome goes beyond focusing solely on teeth. A modern orthodontist understands the importance of balancing and harmonizing facial growth early, ensuring benefits beyond straighter teeth. Attention must be given to the growth of the head, face, and mouth to deliver long-lasting, outstanding results.
Several factors come into play, including assessing the airway, tongue position, swallowing patterns, oral habits, and muscular concerns. Early diagnosis and management of these factors are crucial.
We are committed to providing your child with the highest level of care available worldwide. Rest assured that we will care for your child and strive for excellent results.