Does My Child Need Early Orthodontic Treatment?
Children age seven years old or younger are of an optimal age for treating malocclusions (irregular bites) and jaw problems because his/her jaw development is not yet complete. While an early orthodontic check-up does not mean that treatment will begin immediately, or even that it is necessary, some irregularities are more easily corrected before your child's jaw growth is complete, making it imperative to have an early check-up.
Irregularities in Pediatric Dental Development
Orthodontic problems can sometimes be invisible to the untrained eye. However, there are some common signs that orthodontic treatment may be necessary:
Overcrowded, missing, or misaligned teeth
Finger or thumb sucking
Chewing or biting problems
Teeth that do not meet or that meet irregularly
Clicking or shifting jaws
Later or earlier loss of baby teeth than normal
Types of Early Orthodontic Intervention
The goal of early orthodontic intervention and treatment is to ensure that more serious problems do not develop in the future. Early intervention tends to fall into three main categories: preventive, interceptive, and comprehensive:
The goal of preventive treatment is to avoid the development of malocclusion in a normally developing mouth. Dr. Day may remove a baby tooth to create space for an adult tooth to erupt. Conversely, if a baby tooth has been lost too early, a space retainer appliance will hold that space for the corresponding adult tooth.
Interceptive treatments aim to reduce the complexity of a developing problem and eliminate the cause where possible. The ideal candidate for interceptive treatment usually has a mixture of adult and baby teeth. Dr. Day is able to alter the size of the teeth, remove longstanding baby teeth and create space for erupting adult teeth.
Comprehensive treatments are commonly used to correct growth irregularities. When the teeth are completely misaligned or the jaws are functioning poorly, orthodontic treatment may be combined with jaw surgery, tooth extractions or restorative surgery. Comprehensive treatment can begin prior to the loss of baby teeth, with several phases of such treatment required to optimize benefits.
If you have any questions or concerns about early orthodontic treatment, please feel free to contact our office at 517-393-8500.
Day Family Dental
Dr. Nathan Day, DMD • Dentist • Lansing, MI