Early Treatment

At what age should my child first visit the orthodontist?

The American Association of Orthodontists recommends that most children should have an orthodontic screening by age 7.

This allows Dr. Kevin McCoy to determine if orthodontic treatment will be required and the best time for your child to be treated.  Many of the dentists in our community have been trained to identify orthodontic problems early, and may refer you to our office earlier than age 7.

Why should my child be evaluated at such an early age?

Early diagnosis and treatment can guide erupting teeth into a more favorable position, preserve space for permanent teeth, and reduce the likelihood of fracturing protruded front teeth.

If early treatment is indicated, Dr. McCoy can guide the growth of the jaw and incoming permanent teeth.  Early treatment can also regulate the width of the upper and lower dental arches, gain space for permanent teeth, avoid the need for permanent tooth extractions, reduce the likelihood of impacted permanent teeth, correct thumb sucking and eliminate abnormal swallowing or speech problems.  In other words, early treatment can simplify later treatment undertaken after all the permanent teeth erupt.

Does early treatment benefit all children?

Early treatment does not necessarily benefit all children.  Certain types of orthodontic problems can be more easily and efficiently corrected in the teen years when all the permanent teeth have erupted, so Dr. McCoy oftentimes does no treatment on your young child.

Some skeletal orthodontic problems should not be addressed until growth is more advanced or completed.  Dr. McCoy personally develops a plan for treatment based on each individual child’s needs.  If Dr. McCoy decides that your child is not ready for treatment, they are placed on our free orthodontic supervisory program.

What is our free Orthodontic Supervisory Program?

Our orthodontic supervisory program is for patients who are not ready for treatment and are placed on recall.  There is no fee for this program and it helps Dr. McCoy determine the optimum time to begin treatment and achieve the best possible result for your child.  We enroll your children in our Patient Rewards Club so they can play some awesome games online and also earn points towards getting a gift card.

Then, we put your child on recall every 6-8 months so Dr. McCoy can observe their progress as they grow and so Dr. McCoy can monitor the eruptive pattern of  their permanent teeth.  Dr. McCoy will notify your general dentist of any recommendations he makes during your child’s recall visit.

In addition to a beautiful new smile, what are some other benefits of orthodontic treatment?

Invisalign and braces can improve the function of your bite and teeth, improve your ability to clean your teeth, prevent wear on your teeth, and increase the longevity of your natural teeth over a lifetime.

If my child has treatment early, will this prevent the need for braces as an adolescent?

Early treatment can begin the correction of significant problems, prevent more severe problems from developing and simplify future treatment.  Because all of the permanent teeth have not yet erupted when early treatment is performed, their final alignment may not have been corrected.  That’s why Dr. McCoy likes to keep early treatment simple – not all of your permanent teeth are in.

After early treatment, a shortened comprehensive phase of treatment (Phase II – Invisalign or full braces) in the teen years after all the permanent teeth have erupted, completes the correction.

Do we still need to see our family dentist during orthodontic treatment?

Patients with Invisalign, braces or other orthodontic appliances require more effort to keep their teeth and gums clean.  Because we want to insure the highest level of dental health, we recommend you see your family dentist for regular check-ups and cleanings every 6 months during orthodontic treatment.