Timing and how soon you get started on proper dental practices is important. According to AAO (American Association of Orthodontics), children should have the first orthodontic evaluation at age seven. This is when an orthodontic problem can be detected easily because some of the permanent teeth have started coming out.
Previously, we had to wait until all the permanent teeth have emerged to have the orthodontic treatment done, which is usually late. With modern dental technology, interceptive orthodontic treatment can help correct some of the orthodontic problems and support jaw growth.
Early (interceptive) orthodontic treatment is the evaluation, diagnosis, treatment, and prevention of orthodontic problems. It is a phased dental treatment that seeks to improve the dental structure of the children.
Not all children need early orthodontic treatment, but those who do can benefit greatly from the treatment. With early evaluation, the orthodontist can recommend treatment and prevent other dental problems.
The treatment involves the use of appliances to support the teeth and gums. At Memorial Children’s Dentistry, we offer interceptive orthodontics as part of our preventive dental measures. The early orthodontic evaluation offers great benefits, such as:
Crooked and crowded teeth can make it challenging to clean the teeth allowing plaques to accumulate and bacteria to thrive. This often leads to decay, gum infections, and other dental problems. By straightening the teeth early, you can promote proper teeth cleaning and avoid unnecessary dental problems.
Primary teeth are crucial to maintaining your child’s dental structure. When they fail too early, the surrounding teeth can shift to the spaces and increase the risk of permanent teeth erupting in an abnormal or crooked position.
Then orthodontists can recommend a special orthodontic appliance to help with teeth straightening. This helps the permanent teeth to erupt in the correct position. These orthodontic appliance e.g., space maintainers they prevent the surrounding teeth from shifting. Space maintainers are used when the primary teeth fall off early.
Malocclusion or a bad bite can cause teeth to grow abnormally and become crowded. Furthermore, it can cause headaches, jaw, and facial pain. In severe cases, the upper jaw may have little room to support new teeth growth.
In these situations, the orthodontist may recommend a palatal expander, which widens the upper jaw.
Dental bite problems are easier and quicker to correct when detected early since the bones are still growing and can be manipulated early.
Crooked teeth are more susceptible to physical damage, such as chipping and cracking. Straightening these teeth on time can help reduce the risk of trauma.
Interceptive orthodontic treatment is done in two phases:
The purpose of phase one is to create space for the jaw to accommodate all permanent teeth and improve the bite. Phase one begins between ages six and eight when the facial and jaw growth can be manipulated.
Devices such as palatal expanders can widen the upper jaw to make room for the teeth. Space maintainers can be used if your child is missing primary teeth.
The resting phase is done to allow the permanent teeth to emerge. The orthodontist may or may not recommend retainers depending on the severity of the orthodontic problem. However, in most cases, the teeth are left alone for proper eruption.
During this phase, the orthodontist may schedule frequent dental follow-ups to examine the teeth and dental structure.
The goal of interceptive treatment phase two is to ensure all teeth are in the correct position in harmony with the cheeks, tongue, lips, and other teeth.
If your child’s permanent teeth have begun erupting, they must get an orthodontic evaluation. Visit Memorial Children’s Dentistry and our orthodontist will make the process easy and painless. We will also discuss the various orthodontic problems and how we can address them.