Why Visit Us Early?
Many parents have questions about how early they can schedule their child’s first visit to an orthodontist. The American Association of Orthodontics recommends that parents should schedule their child’s first orthodontics visit as early as 6 or 7 years old. It is at this point that orthodontic problems become apparent, even though baby teeth are still in their mouths. Because their permanent teeth are beginning to come in, orthodontics can play a huge role in young children appearance and health.
At Beth’s Braces, we are trained to identify bite issues at an early age and prepare a proper treatment. We want to see your entire family smile for a lifetime. Building a relationship with us when your child young is just one of the ways we can make sure of those lasting smiles.
Early Orthodontics Now May Mean Less Treatment Later
In most cases, early treatment, also known as interceptive treatment, is accompanied by a second phase. However, children who receive early treatment often experience less complicated or involved second treatments later when compared to similar cases that combined all the treatment objectives into a single phase.
Upper Arch Size and Crowded Teeth – Fewer Extractions
A child’s jaw is still growing during early treatment. Because of this, we can use a dental expander to correct the size of the upper arch. Once corrected, there is a better chance for the adult teeth to erupt in the correct position and without as much crowding. This means that there may be less of a need to extract teeth to provide enough space along the arch. In some instances, the teeth may still be crowded and there may still be a need to make room to align the teeth properly. But early treatment helps minimize this.
Arch and Jaw Alignment and Position
Sometimes, the jaw and upper arch are out of alignment or position. During early treatment, functional appliances help correct this as the jaw and skull continue to grow. These appliances may fix or improve these issues. Even though more treatment is usually needed during the second phase, it is typically shorter and less involved.
Two phases: What you need to know
If your child’s early orthodontic consultation concludes that treatment is necessary, it will take a two-phase approach. The first phase will begin right away, while your child still has most of their primary teeth. The second phase will happen as your child gets older, at the appropriate time determined by your child’s growth and corrective dental needs.
The first phase, Early Treatment, is designed to:
- Enable correct biting and chewing
- Correct harmful oral habits
- Prevent a problem from developing
- Intercept a developing problem
- Guide the growth of the jaw bones that support the teeth so the teeth come in straight and the jaw grows in the correct alignment
- Lower the risk of damage or breakage to protruded front teeth
- Guide permanent teeth into a more favorable position
- Create a more pleasing arrangement of teeth, lips and face
- Establish long-term stability; the teeth remain where they are supposed to stay
- Improve appearance
The second phase, Traditional Braces, is designed to:
- Move permanent teeth into their final positions
- Continue improving teeth function and facial appearance
- Continue to increase child’s self-esteem
Orthodontic treatment and a child’s growth are meant to complement each other. By timing treatment to stages of dental development, your orthodontist can take advantage of your child’s growth and development. Problems that can be treated in a growing child may alleviate more drastic and invasive procedures later.
Is early treatment right for your child?
Benefits of Early Treatment
The benefits of early intervention by an orthodontist include:
- A better prognosis for how the permanent teeth will develop
- The ability to correct any habits that may be the cause of development problems, such as thumb sucking or tongue pushing
- Correcting bite problems like an open bite, cross bite or deep bite
- The ability to guide the growth of the jaw to accommodate emerging teeth
- Lowering the risk of damage to any protruding teeth
- The ability to improve your child’s appearance
- Creating a more pleasing and functional arrangement of teeth, lips and face
- Alleviating future, and possibly more invasive, dental correction
- Increasing self-esteem and confidence in your child
Not For Every Case
Not every child requires a two-phase treatment. However, there are a lot of reasons to have your orthodontist examine your young child’s mouth when they still have baby teeth. A thorough orthodontic evaluation will reveal just how the teeth and mouth are growing, and will give the opportunity for your orthodontist to provide interceptive treatment. Interceptive treatment basically prevents a problem before it happens.
Types of teeth and bite conditions that may be cause for early interceptive treatment include:
- Open bites
- Deep bites
- Cross bites
- Teeth not emerging in the right sequence
- Missing teeth
- Congenitally missing teeth
- Ankylosed teeth: a condition where the tooth stops erupting and stays in the same place, causing the permanent tooth to be displaced upon emergence