Dentists care for patients' oral health at all stages of development and may recommend procedures in one stage to prevent problems in another. If you have a child around seven years of age, the dentist may advise you to have him or her undergo interceptive orthodontic treatment to fix burgeoning teeth problems. Here's more information about these procedures and why they're important.
Interceptive Orthodontics Prevents Future Tooth Problems
In the past, orthodontic treatment typically wouldn't start until all the child's permanent teeth had come in, which usually occurs around the beginning of adolescence (age 12 to 13). Oral health professionals liked to wait because there was concern that the results from early orthodontic procedures would be undone as the child's oral structures continued to grow and change as they aged.
However, dentists and orthodontists have found that starting orthodontic treatment as early as age 7 can prevent common problems from forming later in life. For instance, correcting a minor tooth misalignment caused by thumb sucking early on can minimize the risk of tooth crowding when permanent teeth begin growing in more aggressively. This may result in less need for more expensive orthodontic treatment down the line, which can save you money and protect your growing teen's self-esteem.
A Variety of Issues Can Be Addressed
If your dentist recommends your child undergo interceptive orthodontic treatment, it's likely because he or she has observed a problem with the child's mouth that should be fixed as soon as possible. Luckily, the procedures your child may undergo can address a number of issues caused by genetics, poor oral health, or other factors.
These issues include:
- Protruding front teeth
- Misaligned bite
- Uneven upper and lower jaw alignment
- Tooth crowding
- Constricted palate
- Too narrow spaces for new teeth; preserving space for teeth to grow in
- Repositioning back molars
- Sleep apnea caused by oral misalignment
However, the dentist may also recommend interceptive orthodontics for cosmetic purposes as well. For instance, orthodontic treatments can ensure symmetrical growth of the jaw and make sure the lips meet together in a normal and pleasing way. Certain procedures can also eliminate or reduce harmful oral habits, such as mouth breathing.
The dentist should explain why your child should have the procedures done. If he or she doesn't do orthodontic work, the dentist will also typically refer you to a specialist who can provide a more in-depth explanation of what's happening in your child's mouth and how it can be fixed.
Interceptive Orthodontics Isn't Right for Every Child
Dentists and orthodontists like interceptive orthodontics because they can correct oral health issues before they become major problems and also because younger children tend to be more amenable to the procedures and compliant about sticking with their treatments. However, not every child fits into this category. You may not want to spend money on these treatments if your child has difficulty following directions or would otherwise sabotage their progress in some way. You may, instead, want to wait until the child is older and has more self-control.
Interceptive orthodontics may not be appropriate if your child has a disease or medical condition that could be aggravated by the procedures. For instance, children with metal allergies should avoid getting metal braces. Some treatments can cause mild bleeding, so children with bleeding disorders (e.g., hemophilia) will need to take extra care when undergoing them or avoid them altogether.
It's best to consult with both the dentist and your healthcare provider to ensure your child is healthy and mature enough to have interceptive orthodontic treatments done.
For more information about this or other dental treatments, contact a dentist or orthodontist, or check out websites like https://www.kazorthodontics.com.