EARLY Orthodontic Treatment Benefits
Timing is key – especially when it comes to your child’s orthodontic treatment. “Early” treatment, also referred to as “interceptive” treatment, means orthodontic treatment that is performed while some baby teeth are still present.
The American Association of Orthodontists (AAO) advises that your child’s first check-up with an orthodontist be done when an orthodontic issue is fist found, but no later than age 7. Why age 7? By that age, your child has enough permanent teeth for an orthodontist to evaluate the developing teeth and jaws, which can provide a lot of great information. Dr. Duryea is trained to spot subtle issues even in young kids.
There are generally three outcomes of an initial examination:
1) No treatment is expected to be necessary.
2) Treatment may be needed in the future, so your child will be followed with over time while their face and jaws continue to grow.
3) There is an issue that can benefit from early treatment.
While there are numerous orthodontic problems that orthodontists agree are best treated after all permanent teeth have fully come in, early treatment can be in your child’s best interests if their issue is one that could become more serious in time if left untreated. The purpose of early treatment is to intercept the developing problem, remove the cause, guide the growth of facial and jaw bones, and provide enough space for incoming, permanent teeth. Your child may require a 2nd course of treatment after all permanent teeth have come in to move those teeth into their optimal positions.
The types of issues Dr. Duryea may recommend treating while your child still has some baby teeth include:
Underbites – when the lower front teeth are ahead of the upper front teeth
Crossbites – when the jaw shifts to one side
Very crowded teeth
Excessively spaced teeth
Extra or missing teeth
Teeth that meet abnormally, or don’t meet at all
Thumb, finger, or pacifier sucking that is affecting the teeth or growth of their jaw
Some of these orthodontic issues are inherited, while others may be the result of accidents, abnormal swallowing, or dental disease.
Early orthodontic treatment can be done in many ways. Dr. Duryea may prescribe a fixed or removable “appliance” – a device used to move teeth, change the position of the jaw, or hold teeth in place in order to create the desired changes. Sometimes no appliances are necessary. Sometimes removal of some baby teeth may help the permanent teeth come in better. The extractions will be timed to take advantage of your child’s growth and development.
Regardless of how treatment goals are achieved, the point is that some orthodontic problems may be easier to correct if they are found and treated early. Waiting until all of your child’s permanent teeth have come in, or until their facial growth is nearly complete, may make correction of some issues more challenging.
To give your child the best opportunity for a healthy, beautiful smile, call or visit us today.