Written by Allison Aubrey, NPR Monday, 27 September 2010 15:34
If you walk the halls of an elementary school, you’re likely to see a lot of “metal mouths.” Many parents are now opting for early orthodontic treatment, and the American Association of Orthodontists recommends that children see an orthodontist for an evaluation no later than age 7. But research shows there are often advantages to deferring treatment, though decisions are made on a case-by-case basis.
“There’s been a number of studies that have shown for some very common problems that you’re better off waiting until all the permanent teeth have come in first before treatment is started,” said Robert Williams, a board certified orthodontist who teaches at the University of Maryland.
Common problems that fall into the “better-to-defer” category include conditions such as overjets—that’s when teeth protrude or stick out—or crooked teeth that just need simple straightening.