Why Early Orthodontic Treatment Matters

Orthodontic treatment is most often associated with teens, but it can actually benefit patients of all ages, including children. This is why the American Association of Orthodontists recommends every child has an orthodontic evaluation by around the age of 7. Some parents are confused by this guideline, wondering why early orthodontic treatment matters, since many young children still have developing mouths and several baby teeth. But identifying dental issues early in life gives orthodontists like Dr. Wilson the opportunity to correct them before they develop into something more serious. 

Here at Wilson Orthodontics, we’re proud to offer patients an initial consultation at no charge. For young children, this visit will include an assessment of their oral health and development. Dr. Wilson will check for anything out of the ordinary that could signify treatment is necessary, whether now or in the future. Identifying orthodontic issues early on gives him the chance to correct them before they develop into something requiring more intensive treatment. This gives children the best chance at a lifetime of healthy smiles! 

An orthodontic evaluation for children between the ages of 6-9 can lead to early detection of possible problems and may prompt what we call interceptive orthodontics to correct them. Let’s take a closer look at what that means and how it can help your child achieve and maintain a beautifully aligned smile! Keep reading below for more information.

Why Early Orthodontic Treatment Matters

What is interceptive orthodontics?

Interceptive orthodontics, or Phase I orthodontics, allows an experienced orthodontist like Dr. Wilson to determine any issues in jaw growth or tooth development at an age when we can more easily address them. This can be done with orthodontic treatment that will create space to guide the proper development and eruption of the permanent teeth, as well as favorably enhance the growth of the child’s jaw. This type of early intervention can make certain issues easier to prevent and treat by promoting a healthier relationship between the teeth and jaws. That way, children are left with a straighter, more symmetrical, and healthier smile! 

Who benefits from interceptive orthodontics?

There are many reasons to consider interceptive orthodontics. During a child’s initial orthodontic exam, Dr. Wilson will thoroughly inspect their teeth and jaws. Treatment may be recommended if it appears that:

  • the child will be prone to a particular problem that we want to keep from developing
  • the child already has a developing problem that we now want to intercept
  • the child’s jawbones may need a bit of guidance as they grow 

Most orthodontic issues are genetic, however, some are acquired. Inherited problems will usually include crowded teeth or teeth with too much space between them, extra or missing teeth, and other irregularities of the jaws, teeth, and face. 

Acquired malocclusions can be caused by accidental trauma, extended thumb sucking, pacifier use, dental disease, and premature tooth loss. Whether a child’s issues are inherited or acquired, they can affect not only the alignment of the teeth but their facial development and appearance as well. Interceptive orthodontics can address each of these aspects and give your child a healthy, beautiful smile.

What are some examples of interceptive orthodontics?

Most early orthodontic exams don’t lead to treatment right away. Immediate treatment is actually recommended for only a small fraction of the young patients we see in our Frisco office. Even when treatment is indicated, that doesn’t always mean putting the child into braces right away. Many Phase I treatments don’t involve brackets, wires, and bands at all! Examples of this may include: 

  • removing one or more primary teeth to help guide the proper placement of permanent teeth
  • using expanders to help widen the upper jaw and treat extremely crowded teeth
  • placing teeth spacers to help save a spot for permanent teeth if a primary tooth is lost early due to injury or decay

Here at Wilson Orthodontics, we follow the normal patterns of childhood growth and development as we believe this gives us the best chance to tackle orthodontic issues at the most optimal time. Many problems can be treated relatively easily in a child whose mouth is still developing but will require more invasive treatment as they get older and their jawbones stop growing. Interceptive orthodontics can often achieve lasting results for many of these issues and may lessen the impact of others. Most patients will still require a second phase of treatment with braces or aligners to complete the alignment process, however.

Why Early Orthodontic Treatment Matters

Get your child’s smile off to the best start with Wilson Orthodontics

When you schedule your child for an early orthodontic evaluation with our Frisco office, you’re giving them the best chance to achieve a healthy smile that looks good and feels great! Even if no dental issues are detected, there are several benefits to visiting an orthodontist regularly throughout childhood. These check-ups allow Dr. Wilson to:

  • monitor the progress of emerging teeth
  • monitor the progress of facial and jaw development
  • reduce the risk of jaw surgery in the future
  • guide incoming teeth into the ideal position
  • detect hidden dental problems
  • reduce the risk of impacted teeth
  • reduce the risk of permanent tooth extractions

We love early orthodontic evaluations because they allow us to proactively approach a child’s orthodontic care, rather than reactively! This puts us in a better position to give young patients the care and treatment they need at the time it will benefit them the most.