The American Association of Orthodontists recommends that children receive their first orthodontic consultation by the age of seven. This appointment helps determine if children need early orthodontic treatment to correct potential issues with their dentofacial development. Following is a helpful guide to understanding early orthodontic treatment.
What is early interceptive orthodontics?
Early orthodontic treatment – also called early interceptive orthodontics – breaks up treatment into two phases. The first phase occurs during childhood and the second phase occurs during a child’s teenage years. Early treatment can anticipate potential problems and correct them to make the second phase of treatment more effective and efficient.
An example of how early orthodontic treatment helps children is correcting crowded teeth. Oral appliances such as palatal expanders can take advantage of growing bones to create additional space so that adult teeth erupt properly. Appliances used in early treatment can also help promote facial symmetry, improve a child’s bite, and correct issues that impair proper speech.
Not all children will require early treatment. At your initial appointment, our orthodontist will perform a physical examination and take diagnostic images. This process will help our team determine whether your child will benefit from two-phase treatment. It will also help us develop a treatment plan to address your child’s unique needs in the future.
What are signs that my child might need early orthodontic treatment?
The only way to be sure that you child needs early treatment is to consult with an orthodontist. Typical candidates for early treatment include those who have:
- Protruding front teeth
- Problems with speech
- Significant crowding
- Severely misaligned teeth
- Occlusal issues such as open bites, crossbites, and overbites
Orthodontic care offers more benefits than just improving the appearance of a smile. Properly spaced and aligned teeth are easier to clean and less likely to develop wear. Early treatment can reduce treatment times, decrease the need for certain types of surgeries, and improve your child’s oral function.
Call Fleming Orthodontics today to schedule a consultation with our family-friendly practice.