One thing parents and caregivers worry about is their child’s smile—how to keep their teeth strong and healthy, how often they should visit the dentist, and if orthodontic care might become necessary down the road. We’re here to help with that last point! Although orthodontics is often associated with teens, treatment can actually benefit patients of all ages, including children. In fact, the American Association of Orthodontists recommends that every child has their first orthodontic evaluation by around the age of 7. But why is this so important? We’re taking a closer look at why early treatment matters!
Here at Shine Orthodontics, we’re proud to offer patients an initial consultation at no charge. For young children, this visit will include an assessment of their oral health and development. Dr. McGrogan will be looking for anything out of the ordinary that could signify treatment will be necessary, either now or in the future. Identifying orthodontic issues early on gives us the chance to correct them before they develop into something that requires more intensive treatment. This gives your child the best chance at a lifetime of healthy smiles!
An orthodontic evaluation for children between the ages of 6-9 can lead to early detection of possible problems and may prompt what we call interceptive orthodontics to correct them. Let’s take a closer look at what that means and how it can help your child achieve and maintain a beautifully aligned smile! Keep reading below to learn more.
What is interceptive orthodontics?
Interceptive orthodontics, also known as Phase I orthodontics, allows an experienced orthodontist like Dr. Rita McGrogan to detect any irregularities in jaw growth or tooth development at an age when we can more easily address them. This can be done with orthodontic treatment that will create space to guide the proper development and eruption of the permanent teeth, as well as favorably enhance the growth of the child’s jaw. This type of early intervention can make certain issues easier to prevent and treat by promoting a more optimal relationship between the teeth and jaws. Children are left with a straighter, more symmetrical, and healthier smile!
Who benefits from interceptive orthodontics?
There are many reasons to consider interceptive orthodontics. During your child’s initial orthodontic exam, Dr. McGrogan will conduct a thorough examination of their teeth and jaws. We may recommend treatment if it appears that:
- The child will be prone to a particular problem that we want to keep from developing
- The child already has a developing problem that we now want to intercept
- The child’s jawbones may need a bit of guidance as they grow
Most orthodontic issues are genetic, but some can be acquired. Inherited problems will usually include crowded teeth or teeth with too much space between them, extra or missing teeth, and other irregularities of the jaws, teeth, and face. Acquired issues can be caused by accidental trauma, extended thumb sucking, pacifier use, dental disease, and premature tooth loss.
Whether a child’s issues are inherited or acquired, they can affect not only the alignment of the teeth but their facial development and appearance as well. Interceptive orthodontics can address each of these aspects.
What are some examples of interceptive orthodontics?
Early orthodontic exams don’t always lead to treatment. Immediate treatment is actually recommended for only a small fraction of the young patients we evaluate. Even when treatment is indicated, that doesn’t always mean putting the child into braces right away. Many Phase I treatments don’t involve brackets, wires, and bands at all! Examples of this may include:
- Removing one or more primary teeth to help guide the proper placement of permanent teeth
- Using expanders to help widen the upper jaw and treat extremely crowded teeth
- Placing teeth spacers to help save a spot for permanent teeth if a primary tooth is lost early due to injury or decay
Here at Shine Orthodontics, we follow the normal patterns of childhood growth and development as we believe this gives us the best chance to tackle orthodontic issues at the most optimal time. Many orthodontic issues can be treated relatively easily in a child whose mouth is still developing but will require more invasive treatment as they get older and their jawbones stop growing.
Interceptive orthodontics can often achieve lasting results for many of these issues and may lessen the impact of others! Most patients will still require a second phase of treatment with braces or aligners to complete the alignment process, however.
Give your child a healthy, beautiful smile with Shine Orthodontics
When you schedule your child for an early orthodontic evaluation with our Holly Springs office, you’re giving them the best chance at a healthy smile that looks good and feels great! Even if there are no dental issues detected, there are several benefits to visiting an orthodontist regularly throughout childhood. These check-ups allow us to:
- Monitor the progress of emerging teeth
- Monitor the progress of facial and jaw development
- Reduce the risk of jaw surgery in the future
- Guide incoming teeth into the ideal position
- Detect hidden dental problems
- Reduce the risk of impacted teeth
- Reduce the risk of permanent tooth extractions
We love early orthodontic evaluations because they allow us to proactively approach a child’s orthodontic care, rather than reactively! This puts us in a better position to give young patients the care and treatment they need at the time it will benefit them the most.
Your child’s smile is as unique as they are, and we know that what works well for one may not be a good fit for another. That’s why Dr. McGrogan creates customized treatment plans for every patient, built around their specific needs and goals.
Do you have a young child who may benefit from interceptive orthodontics? Get in touch today to schedule a FREE orthodontic evaluation with Dr. McGrogan. Your child’s smile deserves the best. Let’s work together to ensure just that!