“The earlier the better!” Most parents don’t subscribe to this philosophy when it comes to their baby taking its first steps, or Saturday morning soccer games. However, it’s a phrase that holds true when it comes to the start of orthodontic treatment for their kids.In fact, the American Association of Orthodontists recommends that all children have a consultation no later than the age of seven. “Our team shares this view and encourages patients to take advantage of our complimentary consultation,” said Dr. Pat Jones, Partner at Associated Orthodontists. “This age is the optimal time to assess the structure of the jaw, placement of erupting teeth and need for orthodontics in the future—leading to the correction of significant problems and a simpler, more effective treatment for the patient.”Five Reasons for Early Orthodontic Treatment1. Lucky Number 7This age is the optimal time to assess the developing mouth, allowing orthodontists to identify future problems. These can include potential over-crowding, crossbites or underbites, and errant or protruding teeth.2. The Growing JawAt this time, the structure of the jaw can be assessed and erupting teeth can be guided into better positions, ensuring the mouth has adequate space for permanent teeth. If the structure of the dental arch is too small for the patient’s permanent teeth, it can be expanded to allow for the adult teeth to emerge and have a better chance of entering straight. Treatment at this time also decreases the need for future tooth extraction.3. Back to The FutureMisaligned teeth or bad bites can be the start of future problems. When teeth are not properly aligned, there are more areas where food and bacteria can collect – leading to plaque, cavities and risk for oral diseases. Bad bites can affect a patient’s ability to chew, smile or even speak.4. Simpler TreatmentIntervening at the optimal time can lead to a simpler and shorter treatment time. Because orthodontists are working with the growing jaw and erupting teeth, they are able to course-correct potential problems and direct the outcome.5. Wait and WatchNot all cases require immediate orthodontic intervention. In these situations, orthodontists will monitor the patient’s development at regular office visits and will determine the appropriate time for treatment if needed.Associated Orthodontists offers complimentary consultations at all locations – Joliet, Plainfield, Morris, New Lenox, Frankfort and Bourbonnais. Call a location near you to schedule your appointment.