Early Orthodontic Assessment

Could your child benefit from interceptive orthodontics?

“What age can my child see an orthodontist?” and “Will my child need orthodontic treatment?” are two of the most common questions we are asked by parents.

Typically children begin orthodontic treatment between the ages of 11 – 15 when all the adult teeth have come through.

But 10% of these would have benefited from an early assessment at the age of 8 when the dental problems they’ll have over the next four or five years can be identifiable earlier and even avoided.

What is Interceptive orthodontics?

 Early orthodontic treatment, known as Interceptive orthodontics is specifically for children whose mouths are still growing.  At the age of 8, the dental problems they’ll have over the next 4-5 years are identifiable.  So it’s a perfect age to diagnose potential problems early on, such as overbites, underbites, jaw deformities and crowded teeth.

Why is it important to get your child assessed early?

Around the age of 8, the four molar teeth at the back and the eight teeth at the front of the mouth should all be through.  But there are still 12 more adult teeth to come through, and occasionally things can go awry.  This is sometimes associated with jaw size but can also be down to how the teeth are developing, including missing teeth (Up to 6% of the population have an adult tooth that never grows to replace a baby tooth). These issues and other factors like thumb sucking can cause teeth to go off course.


The Index of Orthodontic Treatment Need (IOTN), which is used to decide if treatment is necessary on health grounds, is designed to pick up issues in the permanent tooth stage.  It has more limited use when the baby teeth are still present.  This means that some assessments carried out before all the adult teeth are through will not pick up a treatment need.  An earlier assessment can sometimes allow for deciding whether to create more space or maintain space as the adult teeth develop.

Orthodontics is not just about braces.

If your child is 8 or older, an orthodontic assessment is worthwhile, just to ensure things are ok with their dental development.  Speak to your own dentist, or contact us direct.  We will always write to your dentist to let them know of our findings if needed.

Monitoring is often all that is required, but there are interceptive treatments that can be of help too and future treatment with braces may be avoided or reduced in complexity and duration.

As orthodontists we are experts in the movement of teeth and working out when intervention is required and when monitoring is a better option. Modern digital scanning technology has opened up a lot of new possibilities, including more comfortable, less invasive treatments.


If you’re considering an orthodontic assessment for your child or looking for treatment for yourself you can book an orthodontic consultation with me or see one of our treatment coordinators for free. Visit onedevonshireplace.co.uk or call 0121 471 4004 and we will be only too pleased to help.

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