Whether you’re a parent, an older sibling, or otherwise involved in caring for a child, you probably know that an inherent part of looking after children is worrying about them. A common point of concern for parents and caregivers is their child’s smile—how to keep their teeth strong and healthy, how often they should be visiting the dentist, and whether orthodontic care might become necessary at any point.
Although orthodontics tends to be associated with teens, patients of all ages benefit from treatment, especially children. In fact, the American Association of Orthodontists recommends that every child has a professional orthodontic evaluation by the age of 7. But what benefits does early treatment bring? In this article, we will explain why early treatment is important and how it can help your child’s smile thrive!
Here at Windy City Orthodontics, we’re proud to offer initial consultation services at no charge. For young children, an initial consultation will include an assessment of overall oral health and development. Dr. Pakravan will check for anything that might suggest that treatment is necessary, whether now or in the future. Identifying orthodontic issues early on gives him the chance to intervene before they develop into something that requires more intensive correction. This gives your child the best chance at a lifetime of healthy smiles!
Bringing your children in between the ages of 6 and 9 for an orthodontic evaluation can help detect problems early on and may prompt what we call interceptive orthodontics. Let’s take a closer look at what that phrase means and how it can help your child achieve and maintain a beautifully aligned smile! Keep reading for more information.
What is interceptive orthodontics?
Sometimes referred to as “Phase I” treatment, interceptive orthodontics allows an experienced orthodontist like Dr. Pakravan to detect any irregularities in jaw growth or tooth development. Especially if we detect these issues at a younger age when they are more easily addressable, we can then begin orthodontic treatment to guide the proper development and eruption of your child’s permanent teeth, as well as favorably enhance the growth of their jaw. This type of early intervention can make it easier to prevent or treat certain common issues by promoting an optimal relationship between the teeth and jaws before unfavorable situations progress. This way, your child will grow up with a straighter, more symmetrical, and healthier smile!
When it is recommended that my child undergo interceptive orthodontics?
There are many compelling reasons to consider interceptive orthodontics. Dr. Pakravan will thoroughly inspect your child’s teeth and jaws during their initial orthodontic exam. Treatment may be recommended if it appears that:
- the child may be prone to a particular problem that we want to keep from developing further
- the child already has a developing problem that we want to intercept before it worsens
- the child’s jawbones may need a bit of guidance as they grow
Many orthodontic issues are genetic, but some can be acquired. Inherited problems typically consist of 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 or pacifier use, dental disease, premature tooth loss, or a wide variety of other causes. Whether a child’s issues are inherited or acquired, they can affect the alignment of the teeth and development and appearance of the face. Interceptive orthodontics can treat all of the above by catching and reversing complications before they get too serious.
What will my child’s interceptive orthodontics look like?
Early orthodontic exams don’t necessarily lead to treatment. Prompt treatment is typically only recommended for a small fraction of the young patients we evaluate who may face immediate issues or serious complications down the line. Even when treatment is suggested, that doesn’t always mean putting braces on your child right away! Many Phase I treatments don’t involve brackets, wires, and bands at all! Examples of this may include:
- placing teeth space maintainers to help save a spot for permanent teeth if a primary tooth is lost early due to injury or decay
- using expanders to help widen the upper jaw and treat extremely crowded teeth
- removing one or more primary teeth to help guide the proper placement of permanent teeth
Here at Windy City Orthodontics, we believe that following the normal growth and development patterns of childhood gives us the best chance to address orthodontic issues at the most optimal time in our patients’ lives. Many problems can be treated relatively easily in a child whose mouth is still developing but would 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 who receive Phase I treatment will later require a second phase of treatment with braces or aligners to complete the alignment process.
Get your child’s smile off to a great start with Windy City Orthodontics
When you schedule your child for an early orthodontic evaluation at our Chicago office, you’re giving them the best chance at a healthy smile that looks good and feels great! Even if we don’t detect any urgent issues, there are several benefits to visiting an orthodontist regularly throughout childhood. These check-ups allow us 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 encourage early orthodontic evaluations because they allow us to proactively approach a child’s orthodontic care, rather than reactively! This better allows us to provide young patients with the care and treatment they need when it will be most effective and beneficial to them.
Your child’s smile is as unique as they are and we know that what works well for one patient may not be a good fit for another. That’s why Dr. Pakravan uses a customized treatment plan for every patient, built around their specific needs and goals. Do you have a young child who may benefit from interceptive orthodontics? Contact our team today to schedule a FREE orthodontic evaluation with Dr. Pakravan. Your child’s smile deserves nothing but the best!