Understanding the pros and cons of early orthodontic treatment can help you decide whether or not it’s time for your child to visit the orthodontist. Early orthodontic treatment, also known as Phase 1 or interceptive orthodontics, is treatment that is done while a child still has some of their baby teeth. Identifying and solving problems early on can prevent the need for full conventional orthodontics at an older age when all of the permanent teeth have emerged.
The American Association of Orthodontists recommends bringing your child to see an orthodontist no later than the age of 7. While teeth may appear to be straight, some problems can only be detected by an orthodontist. A check-up allows the orthodontist to monitor your child’s growth and development so they can begin treatment when it benefits your child (and their specific problem) best. And remember, just because your child is getting an early evaluation, orthodontic treatment may not be necessary.
Some common problems that will typically require early orthodontic treatment include:
– Spaced out teeth
– Missing or extra teeth
– Underbites (lower front teeth are ahead of upper front teeth)
– Crossbites (jaw shifts to one side)
– Teeth that do not meet or meet abnormally
– Thumb sucking or pacifier sucking
– Other oral habits that affect teeth or jaw growth
Getting to the root of the problem at a young age is easier because children’s bones are more pliable and their teeth have shorter roots. Early orthodontics can help prevent future extraction of adult teeth and can correct developing facial asymmetries which may otherwise become permanent.
Other benefits of early orthodontic treatment include the ability to:
– Guide jaw growth and permanent teeth positioning
– Lower trauma risk to protruded front teeth
– Correct harmful oral habits
– Improve facial aesthetic
– Design an overall better smile
– Offer more effective treatment in less time
While the list of benefits is plentiful, there are a few cons to interceptive orthodontics. Younger children need more help with taking care of their teeth and related hardware. Treatment success means getting to regular orthodontist visits, keeping up on proper oral hygiene and avoiding certain foods. To help safeguard against other potential cons such as patient burnout, Dr. JB White and his talented team offer an experience like no other. To see just what we’re talking about, Meet Emily.