Like many things in life, timing is everything when it comes to your child’s smile. Identifying problems with their teeth or jaw in early childhood means they can be corrected before becoming a serious issue that requires more intensive treatment. This gives kids the best chance at a lifetime of healthy smiles! The benefits of proactive treatment are why the American Association of Orthodontists recommends every child have their first orthodontic visit by the age of seven or so.
Some parents are skeptical of this recommendation, but most children have a good mix of adult and baby teeth present by this stage. An experienced orthodontist can assess the development of their smile by evaluating their teeth, jaw, and bite. This gives them a good indication of any present issues and those that may develop later. This information is the key to setting a young child’s smile up for success!
Here at Davis & Goldberg Orthodontics, we’re invested in creating the healthiest smile possible for all of our patients. Although orthodontic treatment can be beneficial at any age, early evaluations and treatment often have the best outcomes overall. This approach may be referred to as interceptive or two-phase treatment, with a focus on intercepting any developing issues and correcting them. Doing so allows us to guide the growth of the facial and jaw bones for an optimal bite. Let’s take a closer look at what that means!
When is interceptive orthodontics recommended?
When a child is brought in for an orthodontic evaluation, there are several common issues that our doctors will be looking for. They may recommend treating some of these problems while a child still has their primary teeth. These can include:
- very crowded teeth
- teeth with excessive spacing
- extra or missing teeth
- teeth that meet abnormally or not at all
- poor oral habits that are affecting the teeth or jaw growth
Many orthodontic issues are genetic, such as excess spacing, missing teeth, and other irregularities. Other problems may be acquired through events like traumatic injury, extended thumb-sucking or bottle use, and premature tooth loss, to name just a few. Whatever the underlying cause, a bad bite can affect not only a child’s teeth but also their facial development and the cosmetic appearance of their smile. The good news is, experienced orthodontists like Dr. Davis and Dr. Goldberg can address all of these concerns with interceptive treatment!
What does early orthodontic treatment consist of?
Parents often worry that early childhood evaluations will lead to immediate treatment with braces or another appliance, but interceptive treatment can take many forms, many of which don’t even require the use of brackets or wires. Some examples of this are:
- removing one or more primary teeth to help guide the proper placement of the permanent teeth
- using expanders to widen the upper jaw and provide space for very crowded teeth
- placing teeth spacers to save a spot for permanent teeth if a primary tooth has been lost early due to injury or decay
Earlier evaluations mean we can follow the typical patterns of a child’s dental growth and development. This gives us the opportunity to correct orthodontic issues at the most optimal time! Many problems that can be treated with relative ease in a child whose mouth is still developing may require more invasive treatment once their jawbones stop growing. This usually occurs between the ages of 16-18, and once it does, treatment can become more complex.
Interceptive orthodontics can achieve lasting results for many of these oral issues and may lessen the impact of others. Treatment during this time allows us to:
- create space for the proper eruption of the permanent teeth
- enhance the growth of a child’s jaw
- promote a healthier relationship between the teeth and jaws
- give the child a straighter and more symmetrical smile
- improve the child’s overall oral health
It’s important to note that most patients will still require a second phase of treatment with braces or clear aligners to complete the process. This is generally initiated once all their permanent teeth have erupted and will leave them with a beautifully straight smile that feels as good as it looks!
What are the benefits of early orthodontic evaluations?
Early childhood evaluations are the perfect starting point for a lifetime of healthy, happy smiles. When you schedule a complimentary consultation for your child, one of our doctors will perform a painless but thorough examination of their mouth. If no immediate treatment is necessary following this initial visit, they’ll be invited to join our Davis & Goldberg Kids Club and Pre-Orthodontic Observation Program!
Members of our Kids Club are invited to visit us every six months for a free orthodontic evaluation. They’ll receive a VIP card and special bracelet, which can be used to enter our biannual drawings for awesome grand prizes like electric scooters, gaming consoles, gift cards, and more. These appointments don’t require any referrals and are offered free of charge until your child is ready for treatment. We love them because they allow us to:
- monitor the progress of emerging permanent teeth
- monitor the progress of facial and jaw development
- reduce the need for jaw surgery later in life
- guide emerging teeth into the ideal positions
- detect hidden dental problems
- reduce the risk of impacted teeth
- reduce the risk of needing tooth extractions in the future
Being able to approach your child’s oral health proactively helps us provide them with the care they need at the time it will be most beneficial!
Get your child’s smile off to a great start at Davis & Goldberg Orthodontics
Whatever interceptive orthodontics might look like for your child, the bottom line is that some problems are easier to correct if they’re found and treated early. Waiting until all their permanent teeth come in or until their facial growth is nearly complete may make it more difficult to treat certain issues.
Remember: timing is everything! Our expert team will only recommend treatment when it’s most appropriate for your child. We also appreciate how unique their smile is and will build a customized treatment plan around their specific needs.