Orthodontic Treatment for Children

Northwest Portland, The Pearl District and Downtown Portland

Orthodontic treatment is typically associated with adolescence, but the best time to begin orthodontic correction depends less on age than on the specifics of an individual child’s condition.

The American Association of Orthodontists (AAO) generally recommends that a child visit an orthodontist around age 7. Portland, Oregon, orthodontist Dr. JD Miller and the team at Portland Pearl Orthodontics understand that early evaluation and treatment can often simplify and shorten later orthodontic correction, and we welcome young patients for their first orthodontic check-ups.

The Benefits of Early Orthodontic Treatment

By age 7, the first permanent molars and incisors have usually emerged. At this point, an orthodontist can evaluate a child for potential alignment and spacing problems, including the bite conditions known as malocclusions.

Although corrective orthodontic treatments may not be recommended at this age, an early orthodontic exam can anticipate future problems and serve as a predictor for treatment options as well as the ideal time to begin treatment.

In some cases, early orthodontic treatment can achieve results while a child’s bone structure is still developing, preventing the need for longer, more intensive treatment later. It is important to note that most children who undergo early orthodontic treatment will require some follow-up corrective measures after bone growth is complete.

Conditions Addressed with Early Orthodontic Treatment

As a child’s initial adult teeth erupt, an orthodontist can evaluate the relationship between the teeth as well as bite structure. An early orthodontic exam can allow Dr. Miller to diagnose the development of conditions including:

  • Crossbite
  • Crowded teeth
  • Overbite
  • Protruding teeth
  • Underbite

Early orthodontic treatment may help:

  • Create room for crowded teeth
  • Guide emerging teeth
  • Provide symmetry among teeth during continued jaw growth
  • Prevent the need for future tooth extraction

Early treatment of malocclusions can also help reduce the risk of premature tooth decay and gum disease, as well as problems associated with bite conditions such as temporomandibular joint disorder (TMJ or TMD).

If you would like to learn more about early orthodontic treatment, please contact the office of Portland Pearl Orthodontics to schedule your child’s exam with Portland, Oregon, orthodontist Dr. JD Miller.