Start Your Child’s Path to a Bright Smile with Early Orthodontic Intervention

At Adirondack Orthodontics, we believe nothing is more precious than your child’s smile. To set them on a path for lifelong dental health, early orthodontic treatment is critical. Bringing your child to an orthodontist in the early years will help ensure that they can speak clearly, chew and swallow normally, and have a smile they love. 

In the past, orthodontic treatment was provided once all the baby teeth had fallen out. Now, however, we recommend early treatment in many cases to simplify the orthodontic process, prevent unnecessary extractions, and reduce the need for extreme measures in the future. Early treatment can correct major functional problems with your child’s teeth and jaws, such as an overbite, underbite, open bite, crossbite, crowding, excessive wear, or protrusion.

Many parents wonder, “What age can you get braces?”

While braces aren’t the answer in every case, we recommend that your child see a board-certified orthodontist by the time they turn 7 years old. Children who show clear signs of misalignment or have habits that affect dental development, such as thumb sucking, are often candidates for early orthodontic intervention.

For most children, we recommend an early intervention orthodontic treatment plan to address serious issues and tackle problems as they arise. This treatment plan can take anywhere from 10 to 14 months, as we address dental issues with solutions that may include an expander, braces, tooth removal, Invisalign, or a space maintainer. We will also watch for missing teeth and abnormal tooth eruptions. Every child’s treatment plan is different; we take the time to explain in detail what your child needs so you understand exactly what will happen.

Once early treatment is complete, we can determine if your child should move on to additional treatment. Your child will be fitted for a retainer that will help maintain the progress made during the treatment cycle. As the permanent teeth continue to come in, we will review their alignment and assess whether or not your child needs additional treatment to ensure their permanent teeth are properly aligned.

We will be sure to guide them, and you, on the next steps to help them achieve a beautiful, healthy smile that lasts a lifetime.

Capital Region Orthodontics for Kids

For children, there are three main types of early orthodontic treatment: dental modification, habit elimination, and skeletal modification. Learn more about each below:

Dental Modification

Space Maintenance

When a child loses his or her baby teeth early (or has them removed), it’s important to keep the space where they stood open until adult teeth can come in. Space maintenance can prevent having to remove adult teeth later on and can help avoid more intense and prolonged treatment in their teens.

Space Regaining

Even if space in your child’s mouth has already been lost, it may be possible to regain it. It is better to do this before adult teeth erupt to avoid the need for extractions. We try to help our patients avoid extractions whenever possible.

Dental Crossbite Correction

A “dental crossbite” occurs when one or more teeth are stuck behind one another. This can lead to a traumatic occlusion, where the teeth can damage each other and could result in loose teeth, gum defects, and other problems. We recommend correcting a dental crossbite as soon as it develops.

Habit Elimination

Tongue Thrusting

It’s important to curb this habit early on. Not doing so could lead to the development of an “open bite,” a condition wherein the upper and lower front teeth do not meet. Your child may require surgery and other invasive procedures to correct an open bite, so it’s best to stop the habit early.

Thumb Sucking

Thumb sucking in infants is normal, but by the time your child enters the preschool years, they should be ready to stop. Extended thumb sucking can alter your child’s skeletal development and lead to problems like a crossbite, excessive forward movement of the upper front teeth, and an abnormal eruption of permanent teeth. We can work with you and your child to find healthy ways to curb this habit before any damage is done.

Skeletal Modification

Crossbite Correction

Distinct from a dental crossbite, this type of crossbite occurs when the upper jaw is wider than the lower or vice versa. This can lead to abnormal tooth wear, abnormal lower jaw function, and facial asymmetry. When caught early, this is usually very easy to fix. However, it is difficult to correct once the child stops growing, so early detection is key. 

Underbite Correction

If the lower jaw appears to be ahead of the upper jaw, your child may have an underbite. The sooner this is found and corrected, the better. Waiting until later often means the child will require surgery.

Excessive Overjet Correction

If your child has upper teeth that appear to stick out, or if the lower jaw appears to be too far back, they might have an overjet, or a large distance between the upper and lower teeth. An orthopedic appliance can usually correct the problem well before adulthood.

Schedule a Consultation Today & Learn More About Early Intervention Orthodontics

During the initial consultation, we’ll assess and identify any functional problems with your child’s teeth and jaws. Even if your child does not have apparent issues, it is worth taking the time to have a consultation completed to assess the health of their bite and alignment to identify areas to keep an eye on as they get older.

Consultations are completely free and carry no obligation. We can offer our honest assessment and help provide the peace of mind that your child’s smile will be set up for the future. No referrals are needed; children can be seen and observed for years before needing treatment.

Call us today to schedule a consultation to set up your child for success with interceptive orthodontics. We are an experienced orthodontist near Albany, NY that serves patients across the Capital Region.

6 Convenient Locations