Parents always ask me when is the best time to start orthodontic treatment for their children. My answer is fairly consistent: If there are no early signs of problems in dental development, I always prefer to wait until patients are close to being in full permanent dentition (11-13yrs old). However, when dental problems are present, early detection (7-11 yrs old) and interceptive orthodontic treatment is key to ensuring proper dental and skeletal development. An additional advantage is the potential prevention of complex treatments involving surgery as well as permanent tooth extractions.
In the above photos, this 9 year old presented with early primary tooth loss and severe dental crowding. As indicated by the black arrows in the x-ray and the “Before” pictures, the permanent canines had very little space for proper eruption. This patient was treated with upper arch expansion and limited braces in order to align the upper teeth and create additional room for all developing permanent dentition. As you can see in the “After” photos, there is now sufficient space for proper eruption of those beautiful permanent canines. If you look closely, you can even see one poking through. Success!