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Dental Braces for Children

Early Braces and Interceptive Orthodontic Treatment

Did you know the American Association of Orthodontics recommends that all children see an orthodontist at age 7?  This is because many long term skeletal and dental problems can be prevented by early orthodontic treatment.  At age 7, your child will be evaluated to see if the facial skeleton is growing correctly and if the permanent teeth are coming in properly.

A few conditions that may indicate your child is in need of early interceptive orthodontic treatment include:

    • Open bite
    • Deep bite (also known as overbite)
    • Cross bite of the front or back teeth
    • Underbite
    • Protrusive front teeth (also known as overjet)
    • Crowded or spaced teeth
    • Missing teeth
    • Teeth not emerging in the right order
    • Permanent canines not erupting straight
    • Treatment of ankylosed teeth (a condition where the primary tooth fuses to the bone, causing the permanent tooth to be displaced when it comes in)
    • Prolonged sucking habit
    • Poor swallowing pattern

Orthopedic Orthodontics, Early Braces (Phase 1 Orthodontic Treatment)

Interceptive orthodontic treatment often includes orthopedic intervention to guide growth and development of the facial skeleton.  This is done when children have only baby teeth or when children have a combination of baby and adult teeth.  Early braces and interceptive orthodontics is also called Phase 1 Orthodontics.  The goal of Phase 1 Orthodontics is to guide growth and develoption and to guide the eruption of permanent teeth.  In most cases, Phase 1 Orthodontic Treatment is done with a combination of appliances and braces.

For example, many children have a narrow upper jaw that is causing crowding and a crossbite of the back teeth.  The upper jaw can be stimulated to grow wider with the use of an expander.  Other children may have protrusive front teeth and a lower jaw that is too little.  The lower jaw can be stimulated to grow forward with the use of a functional appliance.  Still other children have an upper jaw that is not growing forward and so these children have an underbite. To correct this, the the upper jaw can be stimulated to grow forward with the use of reverse headgear  which is also known as a protraction facemask.

All of these orthodpedic interventions must be done at an ideal skeletal age and while children are relatively young.  The orthodontists and pediatric dentists at TLC for Smiles are specifically trained to know exactly when your child should begin orthodontic treatment.  They will help you avoid missing a crucial window of opportunity to help your child.

Benefits of Early Orthodontic Treatment

Here are a few of the many benefits of early orthodontic treatment:

    • Enhanced prediction of how permanent teeth will develop
    • Early correction of bad dental habits, such as thumb sucking
    • Correction of bite alignment problems, such as open, deep or cross bites
    • Control over jaw growth to accommodate permanent teeth
    • Decreases the risk of damage to teeth that protrude
    • Prevents or alleviates more expensive and invasive dental correction down the road
    • Improves your child’s appearance and self-esteem at an important age

A comprehensive orthodontic consultation  including x-rays and photos  will help determine the appropriate treatment plan for your child, and regular checkups will help us monitor your child’s dental development. The sooner we address any potential problems, the easier it is to correct more permanent problems in the long run. If your child might benefit from early braces, we will discuss all options with you in our office during your appointment.

At TLC for Smiles, our expert pediatric dentists and orthodontists are experienced in all forms of pediatric dentistry, including interceptive orthodontic treatment and early braces. If your child shows any signs of problematic dental problems, contact TLC for Smiles to set up a consultation with us so you can rest assured that your child will enjoy a beautiful and healthy smile that will last a lifetime.