Preventative Orthodontics

Early Prevention for Orthodontic Issues

Types of Early Orthodontic Treatment
The younger we are able to see a child, the more options that are available to us. Even if a “wait and see” approach is best at this time, simply having your child evaluated gives you additional knowledge and options.

For children, there are three types of treatment: dental modification, habit elimination, and skeletal modification. Learn more about each below, and if you have further questions, don’t hesitate to contact us today.

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 the need to have adult teeth removed 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 in order 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 actually 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, he or she 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, he or she 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.

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