Early orthodontic treatment involves anticipating orthodontic issues early on during childhood and addressing them with treatment, if necessary. The American Association of Orthodontists recommends that children see an orthodontist for a consultation by their seventh birthday. This consultation will involve an oral examination to monitor the development of the jaws, bite, and tooth transition (the replacement of baby teeth with adult teeth).
Since the oral cavity is still developing, early orthodontic treatment (also known as interceptive orthodontics) can prevent the development of malocclusions like underbites, crossbites, overbites, and open bites. It can also decrease the need for tooth extractions later on. Sometimes, patients who had interceptive treatment enjoy reduced treatment times for braces.
What does interceptive treatment involve?
Interceptive treatment can involve using functional growth appliances to reduce the severity of developing orthodontic issues. Appliances such as palatal expanders to widen the jaw or create room for adult teeth to emerge might be used. Other examples of interceptive treatment include tooth extractions and limited braces.
Will all children need interceptive care?
Whether your child requires interceptive orthodontic care depends on the results of the consultation with an orthodontist. Not all children require early care. There are three outcomes to your child’s initial consultation for orthodontics. The first is that treatment is necessary. The second is that treatment might be necessary and the development of the jaws, bite, and emerging teeth need to be monitored. Lastly, an initial consultation can conclude that early orthodontics isn’t necessary.
Does early orthodontic care eliminate the need for headgear?
External orthodontic appliances can be uncomfortable and do look very obvious. Fortunately, early treatment and advancements in orthodontic appliances have greatly reduced the need for external headgear. There might still be instances where headgear is necessary, however.
What can parents look for that might indicate the need for early treatment?
While a consultation is the best option for revealing whether early treatment is needed, there are some issues that parents can look for. Common indicators for early treatment include bucked teeth, speech impediments, and thumb sucking passed the age of five. Crowded teeth, difficulty chewing, and “mouth breathing” are typical indicators, too.
Call Fleming Orthodontics today to reserve a consultation.