It’s better to take severe precautions early on than to suffer consequences later, especially when it comes to your child’s smile. It is precisely for this reason that the American Association of Orthodontists (AAO) strongly urges every child to visit an orthodontist by age 7. It’s becoming more common for parents to consult with an orthodontic office to detect, identify, and correct structural problems in a child’s mouth when the teeth and jaw are still developing. In addition, children can benefit from less complex interventions in many cases as they approach their teenage years. It can be crucial for your child to undergo an early intervention to help them smile with confidence in high school, college, and the rest of their lives.
How Does Interceptive Orthodontic Treatment Work?
Orthodontic treatment in early adolescence involves evaluating, diagnosing, treating, and preventing orthodontic problems. In addition, this type of orthodontic treatment can treat problems caused by genetics, dental disease, or accidents.
It’s important to mention that not every child who visits an orthodontic office by age seven will require treatment. Instead, it may simply be a matter of confirming everything is going well with your child’s smile.
Early treatment gives your child the best chance for a healthy, beautiful, and pain-free smile throughout childhood, adolescence, and adulthood. If a problem is detected, your orthodontist will suggest two treatment options.
The first option would be to suggest treatments that you will likely need in the future once your child’s face and jaw have finished growing. These will usually involve monitoring progress through periodic appointments. A second option is an early intervention that reduces the risk of developing a problem or prevents one from occurring.
What Problems Can Interceptive Orthodontic Treatment Fix?
A wide range of conditions can be treated using an interceptive approach, including health and aesthetic issues. Orthodontic treatment at an early age can often prevent severe issues from developing and progressing later in life that will require extensive and complex correction. At Patuxent Orthodontics, we use interceptive orthodontic treatments for the following reasons:
- Preventing trauma to protruding teeth;
- Making room for adult teeth;
- Achieving better facial symmetry;
- Helping permanent teeth to grow into their ideal positions;
- Improving the way the lips meet;
- Taking care of chewing and speaking impediments;
- Preventing common oral health issues such as cavities and bruxism (i.e., teeth grinding).
A comprehensive dental examination can also point out potentially costly oral habits currently overlooked that could develop into costly dental problems in the future. It could be as simple as your child grinding their teeth at night. An orthodontic specialist specializing in interceptive treatment can detect these telltale signs early on!
What Are Some Common Orthodontic Treatments for Kids?
Awareness is always a good starting place to help a child achieve a healthy, attractive smile they can be proud of for a lifetime. Thus, even when no apparent problems are evident, it is essential to have that first visit before age seven. After that, it may be sufficient for young patients to monitor their circumstances while they wait for their mouths and jaws to grow.
There are several options that orthodontists can use to treat baby teeth, both correctively and preventively. A palatal expander, partial braces, and retainers are commonly used as early orthodontic appliances. These options can be used to correct jaw alignment and bite problems before permanent teeth appear. Additionally, based on a patient’s growth and development, it is possible to recommend removing baby teeth to create a better path in which permanent teeth can grow.
Which Orthodontic Problems Should Be Fixed While a Child Still Has Baby Teeth?
As a parent, it’s reasonable to wonder if it’s worthwhile to treat an orthodontic problem while a child still has baby teeth. Several studies have shown that orthodontic treatment can correct malocclusions (misalignments). If a child still has baby teeth, the American Association of Orthodontists (AAO) recommends treating the following conditions:
- Excessive spacing between teeth;
- Extra teeth;
- Missing teeth;
- Teeth that meet abnormally;
- Teeth that don’t meet.
Additionally, interceptive orthodontic treatment offers the opportunity to identify if related habits such as thumb sucking, finger sucking, or pacifier use impact tooth and jaw development. Once an individual’s adult teeth have grown, orthodontic correction of everyday adolescent habits becomes more challenging. Therefore, it is essential to remember that interceptive treatments involving baby teeth are always done conservatively.
Choose Patuxent Orthodontics for Your Orthodontic Treatment!
Book your complimentary consultation to discuss interceptive orthodontic treatment with us at Patuxent Orthodontics in Hollywood, MD! Choosing the proper method for correcting early dental issues is often a source of concern for parents. Therefore, we are committed to helping you learn about what small steps you can take today to give your child the benefits of a beautiful smile for life! In addition, we offer a friendly environment where families feel welcomed! We also invite you to keep up with our blog to get answers to many of the frequently asked questions about maintaining sparkling oral health!