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Early Intervention Orthodontics

North Fitzroy Dental / Dental Treatments & Procedures  / Orthodontics / Early Intervention Orthodontics

Certain Conditions Are Easier to Address Early

  • Expand the jaws early to make room for the adult teeth
  • Eliminate jaw size problems between the upper and lower jaws
  • Improve facial shape
  • Improve breathing & airways
  • Decrease the chance of developing TMJ (jaw joint) problems in the future

Orthodontic treatment in young children is known as interceptive orthodontics.

Intervention may begin as early as age 6 or 7. At this age, teeth are still developing. The jaw is still growing. That means certain conditions, such as crowding, may be easier to address.

Before permanent teeth have come in, it may be possible to help teeth to erupt (emerge through the gums) into better positions.

It’s common, for example, for the dental arch to be too small to fit all of the teeth.

A Few Decades Ago

The solution for crowding was almost always to extract some of the permanent teeth to make space.

Then fixed braces were used to position the teeth properly.

+ - Early Intervention Advantage

Early intervention takes advantage of the fact that a child’s jaw is still growing.

For example, a device called a palatal expander may be used to expand the child’s upper dental arch. Once the arch is the proper size, there’s a better chance that the adult teeth will emerge in better position. Sometimes teeth still may be crowded after all of them have erupted. In such cases, some permanent teeth may still have to be extracted to make room to align the teeth properly.

So-called early treatment also may be useful when the dental arches and jaws are not in the correct position. Functional appliances may fix or improve these problems. More treatment usually is needed later on, but it may be shorter and less involved.

+ - Important Note

It is important to note that children who receive interceptive orthodontics generally still need braces or other orthodontic appliances later. However, this early treatment may shorten and simplify future treatment in selected cases. This is commonly known as two-phase treatment.

It is important to note that early treatment does not apply to all orthodontic problems. However, it may help in certain cases. Two conditions that require early intervention are crossbites and protruding front teeth. A crossbite can cause the jaws to grow unevenly. Front teeth that stick out may be fractured or injured in an accident, such as a fall.

The primary reason to use early orthodontics is to correct structural problems in the mouth that may hinder the emergence of adult teeth. Essentially, we use early orthodontic treatment to pre-empt and prevent orthodontic problems later on.

We don’t just care about your teeth, we care about your health.