Although most orthodontic patients begin treatment in their teens once all their permanent teeth are in place, orthodontics can benefit patients of all ages, especially young children! In fact, the American Association of Orthodontists recommends every child has an initial screening before they start third grade. Even if early treatment isn’t necessary right away (and, in most cases, it won’t be), an early examination allows us to monitor your child’s growth patterns, giving Dr. Glenn Glass the best opportunity to identify any potential issues before they become more serious. Once you understand why early treatment matters, you can set your child up for a lifetime of smiles!
Here at Glass Orthodontics, we know that your child’s smile is as special as they are. Dr. Glass uses a preventative treatment that’s built around a patient’s specific needs at every stage, which allows our team to provide them with exceptional care and superior results. When you schedule a free orthodontic evaluation for your child in our office in Atmore, Bay Minette, Daphne, and Brewton, Dr. Glass will take a look at their dental development up to this point and assess their overall oral health. He’ll also check for anything that stands out and may require further observation and possible treatment, whether now and or later.
If Dr. Glass detects any potential problems in a child between the ages of 6-9, it may prompt a treatment stage we refer to as interceptive orthodontics.
What is interceptive orthodontics?
Interceptive orthodontics, also known as Phase I orthodontics, is a process we use to identify and diagnose any issues a younger child is experiencing with the growth and development of their teeth or jaw. This allows Dr. Glass to begin the most effective treatments at the ideal time, creating space for the proper development and eruption of the permanent teeth.
Interceptive orthodontics also enhances the development of a child’s jaw to give them straighter teeth, improved oral health, and a more symmetrical smile.
How do I know if my child is ready for interceptive orthodontics?
During your child’s first visit with us, Dr. Glass will examine their teeth and jaws. If he notices any of the following, interceptive orthodontics may be recommended:
- Your child appears to be prone to a problem we want to prevent.
- Your child already has a developing problem that we now want to intercept.
- Your child’s jawbones may need some guidance as they grow.
While some developmental issues can correct themselves as a child grows, others may require intervention.
Many orthodontic issues are genetic, including gapped or crowded teeth, extra or missing teeth, and several other irregularities, but problems can also be acquired through injury, premature tooth loss, or bad oral habits. Whatever the underlying cause, we know that alignment issues and other problems can affect the way your child’s smile looks, feels, and functions. Interceptive orthodontics allows us to successfully address those concerns!
What are some examples of interceptive orthodontics?
Many parents we speak to in our offices are concerned that an orthodontic evaluation for their child will automatically lead to early treatment, but we actually recommend treatment for only a small percentage of the children we see.
Even if Dr. Glass does recommend treatment, it doesn’t necessarily mean putting braces on your child right away. Many Phase I treatments don’t even use any brackets or wires! Some of these include:
- 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
- removing one or more of the primary teeth to guide the proper placement of the permanent teeth
- using smaller, less intrusive temporary braces or clear aligners to make small adjustments in preparation for full treatment
At Glass Orthodontics, we follow the normal patterns of dental growth and development in children. We can treat problems in children whose mouths are still developing with relative ease. However, treatment often becomes more complex and sometimes more invasive once their jawbones stop growing around the ages of 16-18, so in many cases it can be beneficial to begin treatment earlier rather than later.
By taking advantage of interceptive orthodontics, Dr. Glass is often able to achieve lasting results for many common issues and lessen the impact of others! It is important to note that most patients will still require a second phase of treatment with braces or aligners to complete the alignment process.
Keep an eye on your child’s smile through the years
You know that regular dental visits are essential for keeping your child’s smile healthy, but did you know that regular orthodontic visits also have a multitude of benefits? Even if we don’t detect any oral issues during your child’s initial evaluation, follow-up visits as they grow to allow Dr. Glass to:
- monitor the progress of the adult teeth as they begin to emerge
- monitor the progress of the facial and jaw development
- reduce the need for jaw surgery later in life
- guide emerging teeth into the ideal positions
- detect any hidden dental problems
- reduce the risk of impacted teeth
- reduce the risk of needing tooth extractions in the future
By proactively tackling orthodontic issues in this way, our expert team is in the best position to give children the customized care they need when they need it the most, setting them up for a lifetime of healthy smiles.
Help your child smile for a lifetime with Glass Orthodontics
Like many things in life, orthodontics is best used as a preventive measure. Understanding the importance of early treatment helps you to get a handle on your child’s orthodontic issues early on and can help prevent the development of more serious problems later on, saving you time and money.
While early treatment won’t be necessary for every child, it can truly make a huge difference for those who do need it! With proper planning, interceptive orthodontics can help improve the tooth and jaw alignment and restore the optimal tooth and bite function. This leads to more stable results, better self-confidence, and a beautifully aligned smile!
If your child is around the age of seven and ready for their first orthodontic evaluation, we’d love to meet you both and take a look at their dental development so far. Contact us today to schedule a FREE consultation with Dr. Glass in Atmore, Bay Minette, Daphne, and Brewton.