The simple truth about early orthodontic treatment is that some orthodontic conditions are easier to correct if we diagnose and treat them at an early age. In addition, knowing that a child might need corrective dental work allows a parent to properly plan and budget for early orthodontic treatment. Early orthodontic treatment is typically known as interceptive orthodontics treatment, which works to prevent even more severe problems from occurring later on in life. The orthodontist can then help the child’s permanent teeth come in by addressing the specific structure of the jaw and the teeth at an early stage.
Interceptive or early orthodontic treatment
According to the American Association of Orthodontics and other professionals, children require an orthodontic screening by the time they are age seven. Children who are around the age of seven have the benefit of bones that are still growing, which is an ideal time to evaluate a child’s orthodontic health. At that point, the orthodontist can make a determination if any orthodontic treatments are necessary and make a recommendation for early orthodontic treatment.
In fact, by 7 years of age, the child’s mouth has grown sufficiently and has enough structure for the orthodontist to be able to identify how it will develop as the permanent teeth begin to emerge. This is the perfect confluence of growth, development patterns and young growing bones to start on a treatment that will be sufficiently more effective over time.
The benefits of early orthodontic treatment
There are significant benefits to getting early orthodontic treatment. Some of the benefits of early intervention include:
- The ability to correct bite problems like a cross-bite, deep bite or open bite
- The ability to correct any habits that may lead to developmental problems later on, including habits like thumb sucking, thumb pushing or excessive use of a pacifier replacement (sucking on objects)
- The ability to lower the risk of damage to any protruding teeth
- The ability to guide the growth of the child’s jaw, in order to properly accommodate and guide emerging teeth
- The ability to create a much more pleasing, as well as functional, arrangement of the teeth, face and lips
- An increase in self-esteem and confidence in the child themselves
Two phases of early orthodontic treatment
Most children that come in for early orthodontic treatment are extremely young, so it is necessary to have a two-step approach to orthodontic treatment. The first phase begins immediately while the child still has most of their primary teeth. The second phase occurs as the child gets older.
Throughout both phases, the orthodontist will work with the parents to ensure that we take a step by step methodology in order to maximize the improvement of the child’s jaw, tooth, and gum structure so that we can increase functionality and aesthetics.
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