When you think of braces, you probably picture them spanning the self-conscious smile of a teenager. However, orthodontic treatment has evolved and improved within the last few decades. More and more often, we see children between the ages of 7 and 12 wearing braces, and being completely done with their orthodontic work before they even become a teenager.
Most children should have an orthodontic screening by the age of 6 or 7. This may seem young at first, but there’s a good reason for it. Early orthodontic treatment is often called Phase I treatment, or interceptive orthodontics. At this age, children’s bones are still developing. The palate of the mouth has not yet fused. This means that we can correct severe problems without the need for more severe measures in the future, like oral surgery or tooth extraction. Instead, we can gently guide the teeth and jaw into healthy growth.
Common Problems Solved by Early Orthodontic Treatment
Some of the most common problems that are treated by interceptive orthodontics are crossbite (which causes the jaw to grow unevenly if not caught and treated,) as well as crowding, and protruding front teeth.
Why Is Orthodontic Care Important?
Orthodontic health is more than just a luxury. It can have a powerful impact on your child’s dental and overall health as they grow. Here are some of the most important advantages of orthodontic treatment:
- Having properly aligned teeth makes it easier to keep your teeth clean and healthy. There’s less chance of gum disease and cavities because teeth are easy to effectively clean.
- Well-aligned teeth lead to better jaw health and prevents TMJ (temporomandibular joint) pain and discomfort.
- Misaligned teeth can lead to headaches, teeth grinding, and popping or clicking sounds in the jaw, all of which can majorly impact your health and quality of life.
- Beautiful, straight teeth have a direct impact on self-esteem as children grow.
Second Phase Treatment
Although early orthodontic treatment can prevent some of the most severe problems, usually a child will still need orthodontic treatment later on. Fortunately, interceptive orthodonic treatment can make it so that later treatment is simplified and shortened.
We’ll Keep an Eye on Your Child’s Teeth
Here at Timpanogos Pediatric Dentistry, we’re experienced in noticing early signs of orthodontic problems in children. If we see something that concerns us, we’ll let you know and refer you to an orthodontist who can help you plan out treatment if it’s necessary.