13 Apr What is Early Interceptive Orthodontics?
Braces. We all know them, we all know kids who have them, we all accept that it is the way to align skew teeth during the teenage years.
But did you know that this is not the only solution for your child?
Early interceptive orthodontic treatment is an approach that uses phased treatments to manipulate the growth and correct developmental occlusion (how we bite) problems. The goal of early treatment is to correct the growth of the jaw and certain bite problems, such as an overbite. Early treatment also helps to make room for permanent teeth to come in properly and lessen the odds of extractions in the future.
When should we consider early treatment for our child?
- Mouth breathers – when your child sleeps with their mouth open, this can potentially limit the development of their jaws.
- Habits – when your child continues to suck a finger or thumb after the age of 5, this can lead to overdevelopment of the upper jaw and underdevelopment of the lower jaw.
- Speech impediments – this can be a sign of a tongue tie and or incorrect tongue position which in turn affect jaw development.
- Difficulty or messy eating – if your child is still a messy eater after the age of 5, it can be due to poor occlusion because of underdeveloped jaws.
- Protruding teeth
- Crowded front teeth around the age of 7 or 8
- Early or late loss of baby teeth (your child should typically start losing teeth around age five, and will have all permanent teeth around age 13)
What does early interceptive treatment involve?
- Expansion of the upper jaw to eliminate a crossbite.
- Expansion of one or both jaws to create space for overly crowded teeth.
- Early removal of specific baby teeth to facilitate the proper eruption of permanent teeth.
- Maintaining space for permanent teeth after the premature loss of a baby tooth.
- Reducing the protrusion of upper incisors decreases the likelihood of fracture from trauma.
How will your child benefit from early interceptive treatment?
Most children lose all their baby teeth by age 13. By the end of their teen years, the jaw bones will harden and stop growing.
- Orthodontic procedures for adults often take more time and can entail tooth extraction or oral surgery. Receiving early orthodontic treatment as a child can help prevent the need for orthodontics as a teenager or adult and leave little to no need for extraction or surgery in the future.
- Crowded teeth are much more difficult to brush and floss, which may contribute to tooth decay and periodontal disease.
- Protruding teeth are more susceptible to accidental chipping.
- Crossbites can result in unfavorable growth and uneven tooth wear.
- Open bites can result in tongue-thrusting habits and speech impediments.
If you wanted to know more or to find out if this could be an option for your child, contact us for an appointment today.
Dr. Engelbrecht is one of only a few practitioners in the Western Cape that treat children with the Myobrace appliance, an early interceptive orthodontic device developed in Australia. Contact us for more information.