Early treatment is when a younger patient, typically a child around 6 – 8, receives an orthodontic screening to check how their teeth and bones are developing. Orthodontists like to see patients in this age range because at this point, enough permanent teeth have grown in to determine whether or not a child will need orthodontic work. If the orthodontist sees there is an abnormal or misaligned structure in the mouth, preventative measures can be taken to correct it.
Interceptive orthodontic work ensures the teeth and jaw develop properly as the child grows and permanent teeth come in. Though it is not a necessary procedure for every child, our orthodontists can tell you if your child needs early treatment if your family dentist recommends a screening. It is important to evaluate developing teeth because from that point, orthodontists can monitor a child’s growth.
Candidates for early orthodontic treatment are children who exhibit:
- Bruxism or grinding of teeth
- Excessively spaced teeth
- Extra teeth
- Thumb sucking
- Early loss of baby teeth
- Difficulty biting properly
There are many different kinds of early orthodontic treatment that can be prescribed. There are devices that assist the movement of teeth, change jaw positioning, and to hold teeth in place while waiting for other areas of movement. Other forms of treatment may involve removing baby teeth to help permanent teeth erupt with more space.
Some orthodontic problems may be easier to correct if they are found and treated early and can prevent larger costs in the future. Important problems to observe from age 6-8 consist of crowded teeth, abnormal eruption, and crossbites. Waiting until all permanent teeth have come in, or until facial growth is nearly complete, may make correction of some problems more difficult and costly.
Our orthodontists can determine whether or not an early orthodontic treatment is necessary. For some cases, early orthodontic treatment can adjust the bite better than adult orthodontics because the teeth are still developing and easier to move. Ask Dr. Artin and Dr. Mel from Orthodontics LA for an early orthodontic treatment screening.