Why don’t we start at the beginning? Many of our patients first visit our office at the age 7 or 8. These youngsters are usually referred by their family dentist because the dentist is trained to see the subtle beginnings of an orthodontic problem; a problem that does not need to be cared for at 7 years old, but may be able to be cared for sooner than later such as it will head off a bigger problem before it has a chance to occur. Confusing? No, easy does it. The most common issues at this age are related to lack of space and misshapen jaws. See the pictures below. The first picture shows overlapping teeth and the second picture shows a narrow top jaw that results in the indicated crossbite.
Evaluating growth and development and available space we will decide if some primary (baby) teeth should be removed or if an expander, to change the shape of the upper jaw, will be required. Extractions and expansion can help a lot of 9-10 year olds by setting the jaws up for the next growth spurt.
I will write about underbites, anterior crossbites, openbites, protrusion and spaces between the front teeth at another time
Questions and comments welcome.