Early Treatment


Your Trusted Kids’ Orthodontist in Tacoma

At Douglas Knight Orthodontics, we believe everyone deserves a beautiful smile they can be proud to show off for years to come. That’s why, as your Tacoma orthodontist, Dr. Douglas J. Knight encourages all parents to bring their children in for an early orthodontic evaluation. Receiving orthodontic care earlier rather than later can offer a huge advantage for the development of your child’s teeth and mouth, as well as their future oral health. We invite you to read below to find out more on early treatment.

When is the best time to begin orthodontics?

The American Association of Orthodontists recommends that the initial orthodontic evaluation should occur at the first sign of orthodontic problems, or no later than age 7. Beginning treatment at this time ensures the greatest results and the least amount of time and expenses. At this early age, orthodontic treatment may not be necessary, however—detailed examination can anticipate the best time to begin treatment. Remember, an evaluation with your Tacoma orthodontist is not the same as actually starting treatment.

How will early orthodontic evaluation benefit my child?

Early evaluation provides both timely detection of problems and greater opportunity for more effective treatment. Cautious intervention guides the growth and development of your child’s jaw and teeth, preventing serious problems later. The sooner you act, the lower risk your child will have of developing problems and needing complex and costly procedures. When an evaluation determines that treatment is not necessary right away, your Tacoma kids’ orthodontist can carefully monitor growth and development, and begin treatment when it is ideal.

Why age 7?

By the time a child turns 7, the first molars erupt, thus establishing the back bite. This is an ideal time for your Tacoma kids’ orthodontist to evaluate front-to-back and side-to-tooth relationships. For example, the presence of erupting incisors can indicate possible overbite, open bite, crowding, or gummy smiles. Timely screening increases the chances for an amazing smile earlier in your child’s life.

What are some orthodontic problems I should look out for?

According to the AAO, the following are some early warning signs that your child may need orthodontic treatment:

  • Early or late loss of baby teeth
  • Difficulty chewing or biting
  • Mouth breathing
  • Finger sucking or other oral habits
  • Crowding, misplaced or blocked-out teeth
  • Jaws that shift, make sounds, protrude or are recessed
  • Speech difficulty
  • Biting the cheek or biting into the roof of the mouth
  • Protruding teeth
  • Teeth that meet in an abnormal way or don’t meet at all
  • Facial imbalance or asymmetry
  • Grinding or clenching of teeth

What are the advantages of preventive orthodontics?

Some of the direct results of early treatment are:

  • Creating room for crowded, erupting teeth
  • Creating facial symmetry by influencing jaw growth
  • Reducing the risk of trauma to protruding front teeth
  • Preserving space for unerupted teeth
  • Reducing the need for tooth removal
  • Reducing treatment time with braces

My child has a bad bite, should it be treated?

Malocclusions, or bad bites, are misalignments of the teeth that occur when the upper and lower jaw do not line up correctly. Untreated bad bites can result in a variety of problems:

  • Crowded teeth are more difficult to brush and floss properly, which may contribute to tooth decay and/or gum disease
  • Protruding teeth are more susceptible to accidental chipping
  • Crossbites can result in unfavorable growth and uneven tooth wear
  • Openbites can result in tongue-thrusting habits and cause speech impediments

Book An Appointment With Your Tacoma Orthodontist Today!

Here at Douglas Knight Orthodontics, we understand that visiting your Tacoma orthodontist can be a daunting idea to both you and your child. This is why we offer superior treatments in a comfortable, welcoming, safe environment. Ultimately, orthodontics will do more than give your child a beautiful smile – it will create strong and healthy teeth and gums that will last your child a lifetime! Don’t wait, schedule an appointment today. If you have any questions on early treatment, contact us and we’ll be happy to help. We can’t wait to hear from you!