Past generations of orthodontic patients typically didn’t start on a course of treatment until early adolescence, but that approach has changed.
Now, pediatric dentists and orthodontists collaborate to address potential problems in children who are much younger and when the permanent teeth are just beginning to come through.
Interceptive orthodontics may help your child avoid full braces at a later date or reduce the time spent in the appliances.
A child should first have an orthodontic consultation at My Kidz Dental by age six or seven. At that point, enough permanent teeth have erupted to give the orthodontist a picture of potential problems that are likely to develop in a particular child’s case.
Interceptive orthodontics, also referred to as phase I orthodontics, is the practice of initiating orthodontic treatment in children between 7 and 11 years of age. These earlier interventions can correct issues with the jaws and malocclusions ("bad bites”), that can lead to later problems with the alignment of the permanent teeth.
Waiting until adolescence to begin orthodontic treatment may ultimately lead to more invasive procedures and tooth extractions to reverse the problem.
For example, your child’s dentist may determine that crowding is likely to become an issue, due to insufficient space in the upper or lower arch to accommodate all of the permanent teeth. In such a case, the dentist can use appliances to expand the jaw before most of the permanent teeth emerge. Similarly, the dentist may insert spacers to maintain adequate room for the permanent teeth to emerge.
Additionally, if your child is showing signs of irregular growth patterns in the jaw, appliances can be used to reposition the jaws and help them to grow together properly in younger children. Waiting until adolescence to begin orthodontic treatment may ultimately lead to more invasive procedures and tooth extractions to reverse the problem.
If your school-aged child has not yet undergone an orthodontic evaluation, schedule an appointment with Dr. Ashley Ramsey to learn more about recommended treatments.