Your teeth are part of your body; hence your dental health is just as crucial as your overall physical well-being. And while this statement only expresses an indisputable fact, the majority often fail to heed its sentiments. Yet, the health of your teeth is important. So, you must be as vigilant about it as you are regarding any other body part. And when you discover that something is amiss, prompt and decisive action can make all the difference.
One of the best ways to ensure optimal oral health is by keeping a close eye on your teeth from the start. So, as a parent, you have to monitor your children’s dental well-being from the time their teeth start growing. And as soon as you notice any anomalies (in any stage of life), it is best to seek professional help. This observance is where early intervention orthodontics comes in.
What is Early Intervention Orthodontics?
Early Intervention Orthodontics (or phase one/interceptive orthodontics) denotes any condition where your child experiences such abnormal jaw growth or adult teeth emergence that orthodontics intervention becomes necessary. Such intervention helps establish a normal tooth eruption and jaw development for a growing child.
Early intervention orthodontics typically occurs between the ages of 7 and 11. However, professionals also carry them out after the first set of molars comes in but before installing braces. Such a practice allows your orthodontist to identify malformations earlier in your child’s life when their teeth and jaws are easier to manipulate.
Phase one orthodontics serves two primary purposes: first, they reduce treatment time and complexity, particularly during secondary orthodontic intervention after all adult teeth have grown (during the teenage years). Secondly, they even serve to help avoid the need for later mediation.
Purposes of Early Intervention Orthodontics
Interceptive orthodontics aim to:
- help develop suitably shaped arches for future eruption, thus establishing the ideal space for adult teeth
- reduce or eradicate the need for adult tooth extractions
- prepare the jaws for proper growth during puberty
- reduce or eliminate asymmetries related to eruption or jaw development.
How Do You Know If Your Child Needs Early Orthodontic Treatment?
The ideal age for the first orthodontic evaluation is 7 years.
On the other hand, there are numerous ways to determine whether your child needs interceptive orthodontic treatment. They include:
- Losing baby teeth before 5 years old
- Improper teeth meeting when biting
- Snoring or mouth breathing
- Crowded or protruding front teeth
- Difficulty biting or chewing
- Speech impediment
- Jaw shifting when your child opens or closes the mouth
- Thumb or finger sucking after the age of five
What problems does Early Intervention Orthodontics Treat?
- Severe teeth crowding
- Underbites and overbites
- Jaw irregularities (upper and lower jaw unevenness)
- Narrow dental arches (typically from pacifier habits and thumb sucking)
- Drifting of adult teeth
- Family history of impacted teeth
- Protruding teeth
Interceptive orthodontics help correct the above issues before it becomes more difficult (when the jaw bones develop fully) or before the problems worsen.
Benefits of Early Intervention
Phase one orthodontic treatment occurs while your child’s jawbones are still soft. Hence, as the bones are still pliable, corrective procedures work more rapidly and effectively than for teens and adults.
Early Intervention Orthodontics can also help:
- Prevent the extraction of adult teeth
- Shorten treatment times where they need comprehensive orthodontics,
- Improve facial growth and balance,
- In the case of protrusion, they prevent trauma or social issues
- Assist in preventing the formation of impacted or ectopic teeth.
- Keep treatment costs low or within manageable levels.
So, when it comes to your child’s teeth, remember that early orthodontic treatment is an effective interceptive measure that forms the foundation for a healthy mouth in adulthood.