Early orthodontic intervention is an initial phase of orthodontic treatment that will benefit a secondary phase of orthodontic treatment with braces when all permanent teeth are in. Some children present with signs of orthodontic problems that need to be addressed around seven years old or sometimes even earlier. Orthodontic treatment of children as young as six or seven years old is called Interceptive Orthodontics.
One advantage of having children screened for possible orthodontic problems is that, if caught early, orthodontic treatment can be started while the jaw bone is still growing and teeth are still exfoliating and erupting. At this stage of mixed dentition it is easier to address certain problems such as crowding. Another positive aspect of early intervention is that it helps permanent teeth to come in better positions so if braces are still needed after all permanent teeth are in, this second phase of orthodontic treatment will be easier and shorter.
Basically, early intervention is done in order to take advantage of the fact that the jaw is still growing and teeth can be moved in conjunction with that growth. The appliances used at this phase can improve upper and lower arches that are not in the correct position. An example of such appliances is called a palatal expander which expands the upper arch. It allows the permanent teeth to erupt in a better position and if they are still crowded, permanent teeth may still need to be extracted to make room for proper alignment at the second stage of orthodontic treatment.
Conditions like protruding teeth and crossbites benefit greatly from early intervention. The danger with front teeth protruding or sticking out is that they may easily fracture during an accident where the child may fall face forward and can hit their teeth on the ground in an accident. On the other hand, crossbites can cause the jaws to grow unevenly and facial structures to look less attractive. Without this intervention, treatment later on would be more complex, more involved and take much longer. It basically simplifies the second phase of orthodontic treatment.
To learn more about Interceptive Orthodontics, call us at 203-513-2014. We look forward to speaking with you.