Early orthodontic intervention refers to orthodontic treatment that is performed when a child has started to gain their permanent teeth, but still has some baby teeth present. The goal of early orthodontic intervention is to correct issues early enough so that they do not get worse and cause more serious problems as the child gets older. The following are some instances in which early orthodontic treatment is often recommended.
There are a variety of malocclusions, or bite problems, that can be addressed with early orthodontic intervention. Examples of bite issues include crossbites (upper teeth fit inside lower teeth when the jaw is closed), underbites (lower front teeth protrude further than top front teeth), overbites (top front teeth protrude too far beyond the lower teeth), and teeth that are otherwise misaligned or do not meet. These issues are typically corrected with braces. If left untreated, bite issues can cause jaw pain, problems with chewing, teeth that wear down unevenly, and TMJ disorders.
Early orthodontic treatment is also recommended for children who have issues with the spacing of their teeth. Overcrowded teeth, extra or missing teeth, and too much space between teeth are all issues that should be addressed as early as possible. Too much space between teeth leaves room for food particles, plaque, and bacteria to build up, leading to infection and decay. On the other hand, overcrowding makes it difficult to effectively clean teeth, plus it can cause pain and damage as permanent teeth continue to grow in the wrong direction. Spacing issues are usually treated with braces and retainers.
Some children may have an arch or palate that is too narrow as a result of genetics or habits such as persistent thumb sucking or pacifier use. A narrow arch affects the growth of one’s teeth and jaw, and can cause breathing problems since there is less room in the mouth for the tongue. Children who primarily breathe through their mouths, have chronic congestion, or experience speech problems resulting from a narrow arch can benefit from early orthodontic intervention in the form of braces and palate expanders. For more information about early orthodontic treatment for your child, contact our office today.