Why Early Orthodontic Treatment Matters

While it’s true that many orthodontic patients are teenagers, orthodontic treatment can have a multitude of benefits for people of all ages, including children! This is why the American Association of Orthodontists recommends that every child receive an orthodontic evaluation around age 7. Some parents may think this seems a bit early, but we’re here to tell you why early orthodontic treatment matters. However, identifying any developing or potential issues while your child is still developing can give orthodontists like Dr. Timock and Dr. Wire the best opportunity to correct them.  

Taking a preventative approach to your child’s dental care gives them the best chance at a lifetime of beautiful, healthy smiles! Timock Family Orthodontics offers all patients in Fort Collins, Windsor, and the surrounding communities a free initial consultation. Parents who schedule an appointment for their young children can look forward to an assessment of their oral health and development. Our doctors will check for anything out of the ordinary that may require further attention, either now or in the future. Keep reading as we explore early orthodontic treatment and how it can benefit your child. 

What is interceptive orthodontics?

Interceptive orthodontics, also known as Phase I orthodontics, allows experienced orthodontists like Dr. Timock and Dr. Wire to identify and diagnose any issues with jaw growth or tooth development at a more optimal age for the best results. Treatment in this phase will create space for the proper development and eruption of the permanent teeth. It can also enhance the growth of a child’s jaw and promote a healthier relationship between the teeth and jaws. This gives children a straighter and more symmetrical smile, improving their overall oral health.

Why Early Orthodontic Treatment Matters

Who is a good candidate for interceptive orthodontics?

There are several reasons why interceptive orthodontics may be recommended. After one of our orthodontists inspects your child’s teeth and jaws, they may discuss interceptive treatment with parents if it appears that:

  • the child will be prone to a problem we want to prevent
  • the child already has a developing problem that we now want to intercept
  • the child’s jawbones may need some guidance as they grow

Many orthodontic issues are genetic, like crowded teeth, teeth with extra space between them, extra or missing teeth, and other irregularities. However, some may be acquired. These types of malocclusions may be caused by a traumatic injury, extended thumb sucking or pacifier use, dental disease, and premature tooth loss. Whether they are  inherited or acquired, these problems can affect the alignment of a child’s teeth, their facial development, and the cosmetic appearance of their smile. Interceptive orthodontics can address each of these concerns.

Examples of interceptive orthodontics

Some parents worry that an early orthodontic exam will result in treatment right away, but this is rarely the case. In fact, we only recommend immediate treatment for a small percentage of the young patients we evaluate. Even if treatment is indicated, that will not necessarily mean putting a child into braces right away. Many of the most common Phase I treatments do not even use brackets, wires, and bands! Some examples of this include:

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

At Timock Family Orthodontics, we know that following the normal patterns of a child’s dental growth and development allows us to treat issues at the most optimal time. Many problems can be treated more easily in a child whose mouth is still developing but might require more invasive treatment once their jawbones stop growing. This normally happens between the ages of 16-18 and may make treatment more complex. 

In many cases, interceptive orthodontics can achieve positive, lasting results for these issues and may lessen the impact of others. That said, most patients will still require a second phase of treatment with braces or aligners to complete the alignment process.

Why Early Orthodontic Treatment Matters

Schedule regular visits for a smile that looks good and feels great

Early orthodontic evaluations give children the best foundation for healthy teeth and a fully functional smile! Even if Dr. Timock and Dr. Wire do not detect any dental issues that need attention, there are many benefits to visiting an orthodontist throughout childhood. These regular check-ups allow us to:

  • monitor the progress of emerging permanent teeth
  • monitor the progress of facial and jaw development
  • reduce the need for jaw surgery later in life
  • guide emerging teeth into the ideal positions
  • detect hidden dental problems
  • reduce the risk of impacted teeth
  • reduce the risk of needing tooth extractions in the future

There are so many reasons to love these visits! Being able to approach a child’s smile proactively instead of reactively puts us in a better position to give our young patients the care they need at the time it will benefit them most. 

Enjoy a lifetime of healthy smiles starting with Timock Family Orthodontics

Every child has a unique smile, which is why Dr. Timock and Dr. Wire customize treatment plans around each patient’s specific needs. What works well for one child may not be a good fit for another, but our personalized care guarantees every patient receives exactly the right plan for their smile! 

To learn more about how children can benefit from early evaluations and interceptive orthodontics, get in touch and schedule a FREE consultation with Dr. Timock or Dr. Wire.