August 17th, 2021
Many parents associate braces and orthodontics with their teen years but you may be surprised to learn that the best time for your little one to have their first orthodontic visit is around their 7th birthday. At the age of 7 your child will be missing baby teeth, have some adult teeth just coming in and may wonder to yourself, how could it be time to see an orthodontist? The Canadian and American Association of Orthodontics recommends children be seen by an orthodontist at age seven and at Hibberd Orthodontics, we absolutely agree.
Why by age seven?
By age 7, your child’s mouth has matured enough for a trained orthodontic eye to spot current and future issues. There is not a “right” chronological age for starting orthodontic treatment. While most children will not be ready at the age of 7 to start orthodontic treatment, there are some that would greatly benefit from early treatment at this age or soon after. Waiting until all the permanent teeth have come in, or until facial growth is nearly complete, could make correction of some orthodontic problems more difficult. Most importantly, some things cannot be accomplished once the face and jaws are no longer growing. Early treatment can then make corrections that will help guide your child’s jaw and teeth as they are growing into a healthier place.
What are the benefits of early treatment?
Dr. Christine Hibberd and Dr. Graeme Hibberd are passionate about early treatment because early treatment for some patients is critical to get the best result possible, with the most conservative treatment plan. We like to say that “growth is an orthodontists best friend”, and by taking advantage of the growth that is occurring in the jaw we can:
- Guide teeth into desired positions early
- Guide jaw growth
- Minimize crowding/creating room for erupting teeth
- Correct the results of oral habits like thumb and finger sucking
- Have a better chance of avoiding extractions
At Hibberd Orthodontics, early orthodontics is a two phase solution.
- Phase 1 is focused on making space for all the permanent teeth and to manipulate growth to make the jaws match harmoniously and function more ideally.
- Phase 2 is focused on straightening all the adult teeth, and ensuring the bite properly fits together and is stable.
Is it more expensive to start treatment earlier?
No! Patients are often surprised to learn that starting early and splitting your treatment into phase I and phase 2 does not result in a more expensive treatment cost for the patient.
If you recommend early orthodontics for my child, does that mean they won’t need braces as a teen?
Not necessarily, every case is individual. Early treatment (phase 1) can begin the correction of significant problems, prevent additional problems from developing, and guides jaw growth. Phase 2 focuses on lining up all the teeth, and finishing with a healthy, stable and functional “bite” (which is both tooth alignment and jaw position). The beautiful smile, and the perfect positioning of your teeth and jaw that this enables is the amazing bonus!
If I bring my child to you at age 7 are you definitely going to recommend early orthodontics?
Nope! Every child is different and we customize every treatment plan to the individual. Early treatment does not necessarily benefit all children. Certain types of orthodontic problems can be more easily and efficiently corrected in the teen years when all permanent teeth have come in. Dr. Christine and Dr. Graeme Hibberd develop a customized treatment plan based on each individual child’s needs.
Where you receive your care is important:
Hibberd Orthodontics is a family run orthodontic practice serving the GTA community since 1984 and is located in Oakville. Dr. Graeme Hibberd and his daughter Dr. Christine Hibberd, along with their experienced team, utilize state-of-the-art treatments and technologies to provide the most effective, safe, and comfortable experience for their patients. They believe in providing individualized attention to help each of their patients achieve their dream smile.
Dr. Graeme Hibberd received his Doctorate of Dental Surgery (DDS) from the University of Toronto. He worked as a general practitioner in dentistry before enrolling in the University of Toronto specialty program in orthodontics, receiving his Dip. Ortho.
Dr. Hibberd keeps up to date on the latest advances in his field through memberships to many professional associations as well as the Toronto Orthodontic Study Club and the University of Toronto Alumni Study Club.
Dr. Christine Hibberd attended dental school at the University of British Columbia, where she received her Doctorate of Dental Medicine (DMD), becoming the third generation of dentists in her family. After graduation, she completed a residency certificate training program at the Hospital for Sick Children in Toronto, Ontario (through the University of Toronto). She then completed her specialty training at the University of Toronto, obtaining her Master of Science in Orthodontics. Dr. Christine is a fellow of the Royal College of Dentists of Canada and is also a member of the Royal College of Dentists of Ontario in good standing, registered as both specialist and dentist.
Dr. Christine Hibberd and Dr. Graeme Hibberd are actively involved in a number of professional associations including:
- Ontario Association of Orthodontists
- Canadian Association of Orthodontists
- American Association of Orthodontists
- Ontario Dental Association
- Canadian Dental Association
- Fellow of the Royal College of Dentists of Canada
- Canadian Dental Protective Services
- Royal College of Dental Surgeons of Ontario