Starting Orthodontic Treatment


At Mattingly & Howell Orthodontics, we understand that deciding to start orthodontic treatment can be intimidating. We want you to feel comfortable and informed about your decision, so please read below to learn more about the importance of orthodontic treatment.

The Best Time to Start Treatment

Along with the American Association of Orthodontists, our orthodontists believe it to be best that a child receive their first orthodontic evaluation no later than the age of 7. At this age treatment may not be needed, however if intervention is needed, the earlier we catch potential problems the easier and shorter treatment will be.

What Are the Benefits of Early Orthodontic Evaluation?

Early evaluation provides both timely detection of problems and greater opportunity for more effective treatment. Prudent intervention guides growth and development, preventing serious problems later. When orthodontic intervention is not necessary, an orthodontist can carefully monitor growth and development and begin treatment when it is ideal.

Why Age 7?

By the time a child reaches 7 years of age, the first of the adult molars have begun to erupt – establishing the back bite. At this time orthodontists can evaluate front-to-back and side-to-side relationships and determine if your child's growth is on track. Timely screening increases the chances that your doctor will be able to catch a possible overbite, underbite, crowding, or gummy smile.

Benefits of Early Orthodontic Evaluation

Early evaluation provides both timely detection of potential problems and greater opportunities for more effective and efficient treatment. Some patients benefit from having treatment between ages 8-11 while for others, it is best to wait until all of the permanent teeth are present. When orthodontic intervention is not necessary, orthodontists can carefully monitor growth and development and begin treatment when it is ideal.

Advantages of Interceptive Treatment?

Some of the most direct results of catching and starting treatment include:

  • Creating room for crowded and erupting teeth
  • Creating facial symmetry through manipulating jaw growth
  • Reducing the risk of trauma to protruding front teeth
  • Preserving space for unerupted teeth
  • Reducing the need for tooth removal
  • Reducing treatment time with braces in the future

Check out our Interceptive Treatment page showing our patient before and after photos.

Are You a Candidate for Orthodontic Treatment?

Orthodontics is not just for creating beautiful smiles; it more importantly improves bad bites, called malocclusions. Malocclusions happen as a result of tooth or jaw misalignment and can cause greater issues if left untreated. These irregularities affect the way you smile, chew, clean your teeth, and feel about your smile.

Why You Should Seek Treatment for Malocclusions?

According to the American Association of Orthodontists, if left untreated malocclusions can result in a variety of problems, including:

  • Crowded teeth, making it difficult to maintain good oral hygiene.
  • Protruding teeth, which are more susceptible to accidental chipping.
  • Crossbites that can result in unfavorable growth and uneven tooth wear.
  • Openbites, which can result in tongue-thrusting habits and speech impediments.

Adolescent Treatment

Between the ages of 11 and 15 is the most common time for orthodontic treatment. By age 12, almost all of the permanent teeth have erupted and are in place – this is when crooked teeth, gaps, and bad bites can be detected. These orthodontic problems are rarely fixed on their own and require treatment such as braces.

Children at this age are growing rapidly, and orthodontists can usually take advantage of these growth spurts to help shape the bite and teeth correctly.

Take a look at our adolescent braces treatment page to see our patient before and after photos.

Dental Development

If you believe that you or your child could benefit from orthodontic treatment, please contact us at one of our 4 offices in Louisville, Bardstown, and Lebanon as we would be happy to schedule your first visit with us. We look forward to getting to know you and helping you or your child achieve a healthy and beautiful smile.

Mattingly & Howell Orthodontics

  • Jefferson County Location - 2317 Stony Brook Dr., Louisville, KY 40220 Phone: 502-895-3473
  • Jefferson County Location - 7206 Dixie Hwy., Louisville, KY 40258 Phone: 502-933-2323
  • Jefferson County Location - 313 Guthrie St., Louisville, KY 40202 Phone: 502-890-6508
  • Nelson County Location - 208 N. Second St., Bardstown, KY 40004 Phone: 502-349-6300
  • Marion County Location - 219 W. Main St., Lebanon, KY 40033 Phone: 270-984-8515

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