Early Interceptive Orthodontics?
Around age 7, children have a mix of baby (primary) and permanent teeth. Having your first free visit as permanent teeth take the place of baby teeth, and as the face and jaws are growing, gives our doctors a lot of information.
If a problem exists, or if one is developing, our doctors are able to advise you on whether treatment is recommended, when it should begin, what form treatment will take, and estimate its length.
Kids Orthodontics Explained
Remember, there is a difference between an orthodontic check-up and actually starting orthodontic treatment.
Only a few orthodontic problems will need correction around age 7. Even so, not all treatment is done using braces or Invisalign treatment, and these other corrections are called interceptive orthodontics.
If early corrections are necessary, they can often make later treatment easier or more successful.
If early treatment is indicated, it can give us the chance to:
- Guide jaw growth
- Lower the risk of trauma to protruded front teeth
- Correct harmful oral habits
- Improve appearance and self-esteem
- Guide permanent teeth into a more favorable position
- Improve the way lips meet
There are generally three outcomes of an initial check-up:
- No treatment is expected to be necessary.
- Treatment may be needed in the future, so the child will be observed periodically (these appointments are free of charge) while the face and jaws continue to grow.
- There is a problem that lends itself to early treatment.
We take a “wait and see” approach and have you come in for observation appointments that are also free of charge. Our doctors are then able to catch the exact best time for your child to start treatment based on their unique anatomy and bite patterns. Some orthodontic problems are easier to correct if found and treated early. Waiting until all the permanent teeth have come in, or until facial growth is nearly complete, may make correction of some problems more difficult.
Many of the appliances listed here are fixed appliances, meaning that they are not removable. It is important to avoid sticky, chewy or brittle foods with these appliances. Food items such as: caramels, taffy, gum, hard candies, ice, and gummy candies are ones to stay away from. It is a good idea to cut raw fruits and veggies (such as apples and carrots) into smaller pieces before eating. These appliances will be more effective if cared for properly.
The Herbt appliance is used to help encourage the lower jaw forward. In many cases, this appliance is needed to correct an overbite. Instructions can be found here.
Lower Lingual Arch
A lower lingual archwire is commonly used as a space maintainer. It maintains the position of the molars as adult teeth are erupting in the lower arch.
The nance is a fixed appliance that is used on the upper arch. It ensures the position of the molars and holds space as adult teeth are erupting.
The Pendulum (or Pendex) is a fixed appliance that replaces the headgear. Its function is to move the upper molars back into their correct bite positions.
Rapid Palatal Expander
A Rapid Palatal Expander (RPE) is used to expand the width of the palate. It is commonly used to eliminate crossbites.