Early orthodontic intervention generally refers to treatment, administered by a qualified dentist or orthodontist, to gradually guide the teeth as the jaws grow. While the jaws are growing, the orthodontist can optimize that momentum with a variety of appliances, including dental braces, to correct the occlusion or alignment of the teeth within the upper and lower jaws, as well as the alignment between the two jaws. By administering early treatment, the adjustments are typically easier and require less force to guide the movement.
When a dentist notices potential problems in young patients, early orthodontic intervention is often recommended. Common problems that are corrected through this approach include bite issues, such as an under-bite or cross-bite, as well as jaw issues, such as a narrow arch or crowding. Individual teeth can also present signs of future problems, such as canines that grow in too high or with too little room to fit between lateral incisors and first premolars. Treatment options will vary on a case-by-case basis.
Orthodontists can apply a single bracket to misaligned or awkwardly oriented teeth as they grow in the child’s jaw, then use wires or related appliances to guide the teeth to appropriate locations and orientations. This is similar to traditional dental braces and the treatment process operates on the same principles as traditional braces. Children that require extractions of baby teeth may also need to wear a place maintainer, similar to a retainer used after orthodontic treatment, to keep the adjacent teeth from moving to close the gap.
While many young patients benefit greatly from early orthodontic intervention, the early treatment sometimes requires additional orthodontic treatment later. The follow-up or second-phase treatment is generally administered during the teenage years, and is significantly shorter for patients who capitalized on early orthodontic intervention. In many cases, the use of early orthodontic treatment prevents the need for dental braces later in life.
For more information on treatment options, contact our experienced specialists at Bunn Orthodontic Group today!