Orthodontics is most commonly associated with straightening the teeth of adolescents and teenagers—patients who have most of their adult teeth. However, there are many reasons why your child may benefit from treatment prior to this stage of development. Our orthodontist, Dr. Ben Chan, offers early phase orthodontics, also known as interceptive orthodontics for children who are approximately six years old and up. This approach is designed to correct jaw problems and malocclusion by working with the body’s natural growth process. In addition to potentially reducing discomfort for the child, our two-phase technique can also achieve an improved outcome compared with a single later-stage procedure for patients with certain needs.
Aligning teeth is about much more than attaining a beautiful, balanced smile. This treatment can also correct functional concerns that could cause problems eating and speaking. Furthermore, there are some tooth conditions that can cause irreversible damage to the surrounding environment if left unattended. If you have additional questions about whether early phase orthodontics may be right for your child, contact us today. We are happy to provide more information or to schedule your consultation with our skilled orthodontist.
How Early Phase Orthodontics Works
Signs of developing tooth and jaw problems are often identifiable from a young age. Sometimes the upper and/or lower jaw may grow faster or slower than what is appropriate, which can cause an imbalance (malocclusion). To address this issue, orthodontic appliances can be utilized to bring the upper and lower jaw into better symmetry. The appliances (which can include traditional braces, headgear, palatal expanders, and removable appliances) work with your child’s natural development. As a result, the gradual adjustment in jaw size and shape usually will be smoother and more comfortable than trying to make the same changes when the adult teeth have erupted. Also, some of these changes can only be made at or before your child’s growth spurt. Sometimes the need to remove permanent teeth due to crowding is significantly reduced. Additionally, early intervention may provide relief to teasing from peers based on your child’s appearance, allowing them to avoid psychosocial trauma during this important stage of development. With this strong foundation, the second phase of orthodontics may be faster and more pleasant, something we know your child—and you—will likely appreciate.
When you and your child arrive for your initial consultation, we will diligently and attentively build a comprehensive picture of your child’s current and future anatomical needs. We will then develop a detailed, individualized plan that may include early phase treatment. After the early intervention orthodontics phase is complete, there will be a resting period. During this stage, we will monitor the growth and development of your child’s oral structures with periodic check-ups. When most or all of the adult teeth have erupted, if it is indicated, he or she can begin the second phase of the procedure, which is designed to shift the teeth into their final position.
Every child’s needs and goals are unique. Early phase orthodontics is one more way we can help your child achieve a strong, healthy, and beautiful smile for life.
For more information about early phase orthodontics, or if you would like to schedule a consultation with Dr. Chan, please contact our office today.