The benefits of early Intervention, when indicated.
Timing is everything – even when it comes to your child’s orthodontic treatment. Early treatment, also called “interceptive” or “Phase 1” treatment, means treatment that is performed while some baby teeth are still present. The American Association of Orthodontists (AAO) recommends that your child’s first check-up with an orthodontist be performed when an orthodontic problem is first recognized, but no later than age 7. Why age 7? By then, your child has enough permanent teeth for an orthodontist to evaluate the developing teeth and the jaws. It takes less and an hour, and we offer these at no charge. A determination will be made for no treatment, future treatment, or a condition is found to warrant Phase 1 treatment. Early treatment can be in a patient’s best interests if their problem is one that could become more serious over time if left untreated. For example, protruding front teeth are at greater risk to break or crack should the child fall. This will result in extensive dental work for the rest of their lives. Untreated protruding teeth can also cause jaw problems later in life. Our orthodontist will also evaluate for underbites (when the lower front teeth are ahead of the upper front teeth), crossbites (when the jaw shifts to one side) and other evidence of the upper and lower jaws not growing at the same rate. Crowded, missing and excessively spaced teeth, as well as thumb, finger, or pacifier sucking that is affecting or has affected the teeth or jaw growth will also be assessed. Some of these orthodontic problems are inherited, while others may result from accidents, dental disease, or abnormal swallowing.
Early treatment could be an appliance that will move teeth, change the position of the jaw, or hold teeth in place in order to bring about desirable changes. Sometimes no appliances are necessary, but removal of some baby teeth may help the permanent teeth erupt better. The bottom line is that some orthodontic problems may be easier to correct if they are found and treated early. Waiting until all the permanent teeth have come in, or until facial growth is nearly complete, may make correction of some problems more difficult. The result may be surgical manipulation of the jaw. Remember, timing is everything.
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