Some orthodontic problems may be easier to correct if treated early. Waiting until all the permanent teeth have come in, or until facial growth is nearly complete, may make correction of some problems more difficult. But…children and adults can both benefit from orthodontics, because healthy teeth can be moved at almost any age. It is not unusual to begin orthodontic intervention if one or more of the following early warning signs is seen:

  • Difficulty in chewing or biting
  • Chronic mouth breathing
  • Finger sucking or other oral habits that continue after 6 years of age
  • Top front teeth that protrude
  • Top front teeth cover more than 25% of the bottom teeth when biting
  • Top front teeth go behind the bottom teeth when biting
  • A space exists between top and bottom front teeth when biting
  • Crowded, overlapped, misplaced teeth or extra teeth
  • Teeth meet abnormally or don’t meet at all
  • Center of top and bottom teeth don’t line up
  • Teeth wearing unevenly
  • Baby teeth falling out too early
  • Jaw joints that click or are painful
  • Jaws that shift off center when biting
  • Speech difficulty
  • Biting the cheek or roof of the mouth often
  • Weak chin or a prominent chin
  • Facial imbalance
  • Jaws that protrude or recede
  • Grinding or clenching of the teeth
  • Embarrassing teeth or smile often hidden by hands

If you or your child has one or more of these early warning signs of orthodontic problems, see your dentist or orthodontist. The sooner you receive orthodontic intervention for these alignment problems, the sooner you can light up a room with your smile!