Early-phase treatment of prominent upper front teeth in children may have benefits

Prominent (or sticking out) upper front teeth are a common problem in children around the world. For example, this condition affects about a quarter of 12-year-old children in the UK. The correction of this condition is one of the most common treatments performed by orthodontists (dentists who specialise in the growth, function and position of teeth and jaws). This condition develops when the child’s permanent teeth erupt. Children are often referred to an orthodontist, for treatment with dental braces, to reduce the prominence of the teeth. Prominent upper front teeth are more likely to be injured and their appearance can cause significant distress. If a child is referred at a young age, the orthodontist is faced with the dilemma of whether to treat the patient early or to wait until the child is older and provide treatment in adolescence.

In ‘early treatment’, treatment is given in two phases: first at an early age (seven to 11 years old) and again in adolescence (around 12 to 16 years old). In ‘late treatment’ (one phase), there is only one course of treatment in adolescence.

As well as the timing of treatment, this review also looked at the different types of braces used: removable, fixed, functional, or head-braces. Continue reading