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Early Orthodontic Treatment in Boca Raton and Wellington

According to the American Association of Orthodontics, kids should have an initial orthodontic screening at 7 years old. What makes early evaluation — and potentially, early treatment — so important?

When it comes to your child’s teeth, earlier may be better than later for orthodontic treatment. Many of the problems we have with our jaw and teeth alignment are present from birth, and the sooner those problems can be intercepted and fixed, the better. Learn more about early orthodontic treatment from our interceptive orthodontics experts!

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What Is the Purpose of Early Orthodontic Treatment?

Also called Phase 1 orthodontic treatment and interceptive orthodontic treatment, early orthodontic treatment is meant specifically for young children. It aims to monitor your child’s growth and address any orthodontic conditions before they develop into more complex problems.

Early orthodontic treatment can vary and is uniquely suited to each child’s problem areas. An early interceptive treatment plan may include retainers, partial Phase 1 braces, or an expander.

What Are the Benefits of Early Orthodontic Treatment?

There are several ways that kids can benefit from seeing an orthodontist at an early age. It’s important to recognize that early evaluation isn’t necessarily followed by early treatment. In most cases, if orthodontic work is needed, we simply monitor your child’s growth patterns until we determine that it’s time for treatment to begin. This gives us an opportunity to get the best results efficiently and help prevent future problems.

Some of the benefits of early orthodontic treatment for you and your child include:

  • Prevents future dental trauma and issues
  • Corrects any alignment or bite issues
  • Saves time and money on future treatment or corrective surgery
  • Improves overall tooth and gum health
  • Helps eliminate or reduce any speech or breathing problems
  • Intercepts any developing problems before they can get worse, especially jaw-related issues like overbite or underbite
  • Improves overall facial appearance, symmetry, and stability
  • Improves your child’s self-confidence and self-esteem

What Problems Does Early Orthodontic Treatment Address?

Some conditions are much easier to treat if they’re caught at an early age when a child’s natural growth processes are gaining momentum. These are some of the most common issues that early interceptive orthodontic treatment help with:

  • Severe Crossbite. This is a condition where many or all of the upper teeth close inside the lower teeth. To treat this problem, a palatal expander can be used, which gradually and painlessly widens your child’s upper jaw. This is especially effective when the jaw itself hasn’t fully developed. If you wait too long, a more complicated treatment might be required to correct the problem, which includes oral surgery.
  • Severe Crowding. This occurs when the jaws are too small to accommodate all of the child’s permanent teeth. Either palatal expansion or tooth extraction may be recommended at this point to help the adult teeth come in properly. Even if braces are required later, the treatment time will likely be shorter and less complicated.
  • Protruding Teeth. This is a condition where teeth protrude in an forward angle outside of your child’s mouth. These teeth are particularly prone to chipping and fractures. They may also lead to problems with your child’s self-image.
  • Severe Underbite. This is caused by the lower jaw growing much larger than the upper jaw. It can result in serious bite problems for your child, affecting speech and eating habits.

Other common problems that Phase 1 orthodontic treatment can address include excessive spacing, extra or missing teeth, and overbites.

Is My Child a Candidate for Phase 1 Orthodontic Treatment?

At Santelli Orthodontics, we work with each child and their parents to create a treatment plan that’s right for them — and that might involve no treatment. Sometimes, monitoring teeth alignment and health is all that’s needed. But other times, your child does require early orthodontic treatment or Phase 1 treatment.

If you’re wondering whether or not your child might benefit from Phase 1 treatment, here is a list of things to look for in both their behavioral habits and appearance:

  • Protruding, crooked, or crowded teeth
  • Losing baby teeth too early (roughly before age 5)
  • Mouth breathing and/or having an open mouth constantly
  • Any speech impediment or issue
  • Prolonged thumb, finger, or pacifier sucking habit (roughly past age 6, or when permanent teeth start to arrive)
  • Any unusual jaw structure, alignment, or bite
  • Teeth that don’t come together when biting
  • Difficulty or pain chewing and biting
  • Persistent tongue thrusting habit, especially if permanent teeth have started arriving

When in doubt, contact us to schedule an appointment and discuss your child’s orthodontic health with us.

We can help you decide what the best next steps will be for your child’s health.

Building Radiant Smiles From the Start With Early Orthodontic Treatment

Our specialists and staff at Santelli Orthodontics strive to give you and your child a comfortable, welcoming experience every time you visit us. We want you to walk in and out of our office with a smile! If you’re concerned about your child’s teeth or want some guidance on their dental health, we’re here for you.

Plus, you never have to take off work or pull your child out of school to get them the early orthodontic treatment they need. We’re open until 7:00 PM every weekday. Schedule an appointment with Santelli Orthodontics in Boca Raton or Wellington today!