Early Orthodontic Treatment
With varieties of dental services and products available in the market today, ensuring that your child’s dental needs are taken care of before any severities occur is quite easy.
According to the American Association of Orthodontics, it is recommended for all children to receive an orthodontic screening by age 7. As permanent teeth begin erupting at the age of 6 or 7, orthodontic problems become evident. This age is the ideal time to evaluate the children’s teeth as their bones are still growing. This way, the necessary orthodontic treatment, if any, can be planned at the earliest or in the future.
Orthodontic treatment mainly helps to prevent and rectify bite irregularities. These irregularities might be seen at birth or develop when the child is a toddler or very young. Factors include genetics, early loss of primary teeth, thumb sucking and developmental problems. While crooked teeth hinder the child’s confidence and make oral care at home a tedious routine, straight teeth eliminate periodontal diseases and decrease the risk of tooth decay.
Dr. Joseph Cheng, DDS., located in Rancho Cucamonga, CA, recommends you to bring your child for biannual preventative visits so that the child’s orthodontic irregularities can be monitored with the diagnostic tools and early intervention strategies are implemented if necessary.
How does Early Orthodontic Treatment help?
When minor irregularities display early signs, a pediatric dentist’s intervention can make a huge difference. When such is the case, Dr. Cheng will monitor the child’s dental situation for a set duration without providing any intervention. However, if the child has severe orthodontic irregularities, early orthodontic treatment proves to be instrumental which are listed below:
- Aggrandized self-confidence and aesthetic appearance.
- Elevated probability of neatly aligned and spaced permanent teeth.
- Elevated probability of proper jaw growth.
- Lowered risk of bruxism.
- Lowered risk of impacted permanent teeth.
- Lowered risk of speech issues.
- Lowered risk of jawbone, teeth and gum injury.
- Lowered risk of tooth decay, periodontal disease, and cavities.
- Lowered risk of prolonged orthodontic treatments in later years.
Best time to initiate Early Orthodontic Treatment
Below are the age groups recognized by the pediatric dentists bifurcated as stages of orthodontic treatment:
A) Early treatment (2-6 years old)
While the focus in this phase is to guide and regulate the width of both dental arches, early orthodontic treatment goal ensures sufficient space for the permanent teeth to erupt correctly. Children with below problems are the best candidates for this treatment
- Children with bruxism.
- Children who cannot bite properly.
- Children who have lost their primary teeth early.
- Children with jaws that click or grind during movement.
- Children who breathe only through their mouth, instead of nose and mouth.
The pediatric dentist and the parent work together in this phase to remove harmful habits like thumb sucking, and excessive use of pacifier or baby bottle. Dental appliances will be given to promote jaw growth, to intercept shifting of teeth to undesired spaces, or space maintainers to reserve space for permanent teeth.
B) Middle dentition (6-12 years old)
The goal is this treatment is to realign stubborn jaws, to initiate the process of correcting crossbites, and to start the gentle and gradual process of straightening wrongly aligned adult teeth. This is a developmental phase as the children in this age group have flexible soft and hard tissues and it takes optimal time to start the repair of severe malocclusion.
The dentist may give your child a fixed or removable dental appliance which does not hinder him/her from performing daily duties like eating, chewing or speaking. It is extremely important for children fitted with a dental appliance to take extra care of the oral region on a daily basis. This helps to avoid staining, decay, and cosmetic damage.
C) Adolescent dentition (13+ years old)
The main goals of this phase are improving the aesthetic appearance of the child’s smile and straightening of permanent teeth. The adolescent child will be given fixed or removable braces to gradually straighten the teeth and upon completion of the treatment, he/she may be given retainers to prevent the backsliding of the teeth to their original alignment.