Parents prioritize their children’s long-lasting, healthy, and captivating smiles. One effective strategy to accomplish this objective is by initiating their orthodontic journey at an early age through a visit to the orthodontist. By introducing children to Dr. Azar at Arleen Azar-Mehr, D.D.S., M.S. in Northridge, parents can guarantee that their little ones receive the highest quality orthodontic care. To shed light on this early orthodontic treatment, also known as early intervention, let’s explore some frequently asked questions along with their corresponding answers.
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When is the ideal time for a child’s first visit to the orthodontist?

According to the American Association of Orthodontists, the recommended age for a child’s initial orthodontic screening is seven. This crucial milestone allows the orthodontist to assess the child’s oral development and determine if orthodontic treatment will be necessary in the future, as well as identify the optimal time to initiate the treatment. Although comprehensive treatments like braces may not be recommended at this early stage, this initial visit provides valuable insights into what lies ahead and helps set expectations for the future.

What are the benefits of orthodontic treatment?

Some ways that your child can benefit from early intervention include:

  • Creating room for erupting teeth so they are not crowded
  • Saving space for unerupted teeth
  • Reducing the need for tooth extraction
  • Lowering the risk of trauma to protruding front teeth
  • Influencing jaw growth to improve facial symmetry
  • Minimizing future treatment time in braces, which also lessens costs

Why Early Intervention

Early intervention in orthodontic treatment offers a range of benefits, ensuring optimal long-term results while minimizing time and cost. By addressing orthodontic concerns at an early stage, several advantages can be achieved. Firstly, teeth that have not yet erupted can be guided into more favorable positions, while preserving adequate space for their proper eruption. Additionally, early orthodontic treatment enables the guidance of jaw growth, allowing for prediction of the child’s bite development. Furthermore, it facilitates the regulation of the width of the upper and lower dental arches, minimizing the likelihood of future permanent tooth extractions. Early intervention also plays a role in correcting habits like thumb sucking, reducing the risk of impacted permanent teeth, and preventing potential issues with speech or swallowing.

Is early intervention for all children?

Not every child benefits from early intervention, but should see Dr. Azar by age 7 to determine if waiting until later is the right choice. Some orthodontic problems are more effectively corrected in the teen years, after all permanent teeth are fully erupted. Sometimes skeletal orthodontic issues should be addressed after growth is completed. During an early intervention appointment, Dr. Azar can create a treatment plan based on your child and go from there.

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Does early intervention mean no braces later?

Early intervention means that future severe problems may be avoided and later treatment might be simplified. Since all permanent teeth are not erupted by age 7, their final positions are not fully determined. Therefore, a later phase of treatment during the teen years might be required to move permanent teeth to their very best positions. That later treatment time will typically be shortened though. In some cases, further orthodontic treatment is not necessary at all.

Are dentist appointments important during orthodontic treatment?
Whether treatment occurs during an early phase, teenage phase, or both, patients should see their dentist for regular checkups and cleanings every 6 months during treatment. Oral hygiene can be more difficult while wearing braces, so your oral health depends on maintaining dental visits.


Can early orthodontic treatment prevent the need for braces in the future?

Early orthodontic treatment aims to address orthodontic issues at their earliest stages. While comprehensive braces may still be required later on, early intervention can help minimize the severity of orthodontic problems, potentially reducing the duration and extent of braces treatment needed in the future.

Is it necessary for all children to undergo early orthodontic treatment?

Early orthodontic treatment is not necessary for all children. However, an evaluation by an orthodontist at a young age can help determine if early intervention is beneficial for a particular child’s orthodontic needs.

How long does early orthodontic treatment typically last?

The duration of early orthodontic treatment varies depending on the specific concerns being addressed. It can range from several months to a couple of years. The orthodontist will provide a personalized treatment plan with an estimated timeline.

Will my child experience discomfort during early orthodontic treatment?

Discomfort levels can vary depending on the type of treatment and individual sensitivity. However, most early orthodontic interventions involve gentle adjustments that may cause some initial soreness or discomfort, which typically subsides within a few days.

Can early orthodontic treatment affect my child's speech?

In most cases, early orthodontic treatment does not have a significant impact on speech. However, there might be a brief adjustment period as the child adapts to the presence of appliances or minor changes in the oral structures.

Can my child still play sports or musical instruments while undergoing early orthodontic treatment?

Yes, participating in sports and playing musical instruments is generally possible during early orthodontic treatment. However, it is important to discuss any concerns with the orthodontist to ensure necessary precautions are taken to protect the braces or appliances.

Will my insurance cover early orthodontic treatment?

Insurance coverage for early orthodontic treatment varies depending on the insurance provider and the specific policy. It is recommended to consult with both the orthodontist and insurance company to understand the coverage details and potential out-of-pocket expenses.

Is there an orthodontist near me in Northridge that offers early orthodontic treatment?

Yes.  At our Northridge orthodontic office we offer early orthodontics to patients from Northridge and the surrounding area.  Contact our office today to schedule an appointment.