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As a parent, you may notice other children your child’s age already in braces. These early treatments can be beneficial to children who are predisposed to family traits, such as tooth crowding, a small lower jaw, or if they experienced premature tooth loss. Our practice offers early intervention orthodontics in appropriate cases, to ensure the best outcome for your child’s future.
What is Early Intervention?
Early intervention orthodontics — also called early interceptive orthodontics or “Phase I” braces — is a care approach that adjusts your child’s natural growth patterns. Growth modification impacts everything from the way teeth line up to how the arches (jaws) bite against one another. This type of orthographic therapy is a holistic approach to managing anatomical bite misalignment by addressing it during the immediate course of oral development.
In essence, Phase I braces intercept problems before they start. That way the child’s mouth can be guided into proper growth patterns. This care method is extremely successful and provides the best results when initiated at a young age.
Most early intervention treatment is recommended when children have a combination of both primary (baby) and permanent (adult) teeth. We call this a “mixed dentition”. By mapping out where we need the adult teeth and bone to be positioned, orthodontia and similar appliances can nudge growth patterns in the right direction.
Benefits of Braces for Young Children
Phase I braces are actively beneficial in:
Promoting proper growth patterns. Anatomical variances such as jetted out front teeth or a short lower jaw can raise the risk of dental injuries and TMJ disorder. Interceptive orthodontics nudge your child’s facial development so that their bones develop closer toward the ideal position.
Aiding in appropriate speech development. The alignment of your child’s bite and where their teeth are positioned impact their natural speech patterns.
Preventing impacted adult teeth. Losing a baby tooth too early can lead to serious complications like impacted adult teeth. Even inadequate spacing in healthy baby teeth can cause permanent teeth to get “stuck” up in the bone.
Avoiding oral surgery. Complex orthographic surgery usually ties back to underlying growth patterns. For instance, a narrow or short jaw can’t easily be “fixed” with braces once the mouth is fully developed. Using interceptive techniques can help the bone develop correctly while your child is still growing.
Limiting their time in braces later. Moderate to severe tooth misalignment typically requires a longer amount of time to correct. Phase I braces limit the extent of bite discrepancies later on, meaning that Phase II or traditional treatment won’t take as long when it’s finally required.
Helping Your Child Keep Their Smile Healthy
Cleaning around braces and fixed orthodontic appliances takes plenty of patience and extra oral hygiene supplies. But young children also lack the dexterity to efficiently clean around their braces in hard-to-reach areas. Make a goal to help your child brush and floss each day to ensure no residual plaque buildup settles along the edges of their brackets.
Investing in an electric toothbrush, proxy-brushes (or a water flosser), and supplemental fluoride is recommended.
“Will My Child Need to Wear Braces Again Later?”
It’s important to note that “Phase I” or early interceptive orthodontics are often the predecessor for fine tuning your child’s bite later in the future. Even though a second phase of braces may be required, the treatment will be more efficient and straightforward, as opposed to complex tooth movement (and potential surgery.) The first phase of braces promotes modified, healthy oral development so that their teeth come in at the desired location. Once they do, we can reassess their adult bite and straighten out any misalignments that occur throughout their growth.
Your Child’s First Orthodontic Evaluation
Orthodontists, family, and pediatric dentists all recommend scheduling an orthodontic evaluation for children by the time they turn 7 years old. At this stage of development, we can tell how their growing smile will look a few years down the road. For instance, if they lost a tooth prematurely or an adult tooth is impacted, steps can be taken to avoid more complex treatment or surgery in the future.
After your child’s initial orthodontic assessment, we can monitor their oral development from one checkup to the next. If early intervention is needed at any time, we can make appropriate recommendations based on their unique anatomy.
Schedule an Appointment for Your Child Today
Our practice offers comprehensive orthodontic treatment for children, teens, and adults. Conveniently enjoy accessible, quality dental care for the entire family. Contact us atctel:(617) 527-6061 or request an appointment online.