Is Early Treatment Worthwhile?
1. What is Early Treatment?
In our practice, we find that approximately 40 percent of our patients can benefit from some form of early treatment. Early treatment prevents more serious problems from developing and makes treatment at a later age shorter and less complicated.
Early treatment involves the use of orthodontic appliances, or partial braces, to guide the growth of developing the appropriate age. This second phase of treatment is usually shorter, less involved, and more effective due to the earlier treatment. This is usually referred to as “two phase” orthodontic therapy.
In most of these cases, we can achieve results that wouldn’t be possible once the face and jaws have finished growing. Early treatment gives us the chance to:
- Guide jaw growth.
- Lower the risk of trauma to protruded front teeth.
- Correct harmful habits like thumb sucking, tongue thrusting, lip wedging.
- Improve appearance and self-esteem.
- Guide permanent teeth into a more favorable position.
- Improve the way lips meet.
2. The American Association of Orthodontists Recommendation:
The American Association of Orthodontists recommends that all children should have an orthodontic evaluation by age 7. An experienced orthodontist can clearly see by age seven whether developmental issues can turn into problems. Early detection of common orthodontic problems such as crowding, premature loss of baby teeth, cross bites, or many other unfavorable developmental issues can lead to the implementation of the most appropriate treatment, that can result in a shorter course of therapy. The final result will be more stable, and in most cases the need for permanent tooth extractions can be eliminated.
Frequently, no early intervention will be necessary, except careful monitoring of your child’s dental development. This will give you peace of mind when it is not clear to you whether a issue you see is really a problem or just a stage of development that doesn’t require intervention.
3. What are the indications for early treatment?
The patient would benefit from early treatment if any of the following are present:
- Early or late loss of permanent teeth
- Difficulty in chewing
- Breathing through the mouth
- Thumb sucking
- Crowded, misplaced or blocked-out teeth
- Jaws that are too far forward or back
- Biting the cheeks or into the roof of the mouth
- Front teeth that do not meet, or meet in an abnormal way
- An unbalanced facial appearance
- Grinding or clenching of the teeth
4. How does my child benefit from early treatment?
There is significant research in the area of multiphase orthodontic treatment. Dr. Young has found the most effective Phase 1 treatments are the following:
Palatal Expansion – early expansion fixes crossbites and makes room for teeth which a) might not erupt on their own or b) would erupt really crooked. Early expansion also eliminates lower jaw shifts, which, if left as is, will cause the lower jaw to grow off to one side.
Maxillary Protraction – most underbites are caused by the upper jaw (maxilla) not growing forward as it should. In a young child, these maxillary bones are easy to reshape. Maxillary protraction can make this upper jaw grow forward to correct the young patient’s bite and profile.
Partial Braces – can be applied to the four front teeth if they are very crowded in a 7- to 9-year-old patient. These can be straightened relatively quickly (3-6 months), improving the patient’s appearance, and also creating room for the posterior (back) teeth that will erupt in the future.
Space Maintenance – are passive appliances that, if placed at the correct time, can assist the eruption of the posterior permanent teeth, causing them to erupt much straighter than they normally would.
The majority of our early patient visits result in observation only – at no cost to the parent.
Early treatment will improve your child’s smile at a young age, boosting their self-esteem. It will also improve the stability of our final orthodontic result. That is a fact.
5. Why didn’t my dentist mention that?
That art and science of Orthodontics involves years (after dental school) of specialized orthodontic traning. At Braces@Brick, our doctors make many of their decisions regarding the appropriate care, based on expertise they have acquired after having successfully completed treatment on thousands of patients.
Most family dentists are very busy taking care of teeth and gum issues that affect the health of the mouth. They are not trained to spot early orthodontic problems which, if left untreated, complicate the future orthodontic correction.
It is best that a qualified Orthodontic specialist be the one to make the decision about when to start your child’s orthodontic treatment.
To seek treatment at our office, you do not need to be referred by your general dentist.
6. How do I have my child evaluated by the doctors at Braces@Brick?
The first step is to call our office to set up a free initial screening. This can also be scheduled on our website.
This screening appointment usually takes 15-30 minutes. Our goal is to provide you with the following information:
- We will identify your child’s orthodontic problems.
- We can pinpoint the best time to start treatment.
- We can estimate the duration of treatment.
- We can demonstrate the types of appliances that will be necessary.
- We can discuss the cost and payment options.
Sometimes, the Doctor will suggest taking photos and a panoramic x-ray in order to provide you with all of this information.
7. True or False?
In order for my child to start with braces, all of their baby teeth need to fall our first. FALSE
The insertion of orthodontic appliances or braces is painful. FALSE
As soon as you notice something unusual about your child’s smile, you should see an Orthodontic specialist. TRUE
You should wait for your family dentist to refer you to an orthodontist. FALSE
Orthodontic treatment is an investment in your child’s future. TRUE
Drs. Young and Taliwal have successfully treated thousands of children. TRUE
Click here to visit the full PDF page and receive a certificate for a complimentary child or adult orthodontic exam, including Panorex X-ray, digital photos, and diagnostic models! (New patients only.)
Does your child snore?
Snoring can be a valuable early warning sign that sleep apnea is present. Treating snoring alone can remove this warning system. Many people have purchased snoring therapies on their own, from pharmacies or Internet sites. Most times these therapies do not work and can cause harm, such as TMJD (temporal mandibular joint dysfunction), shifting of the teeth, disturbance of the bite, and severe irritation of the soft tissues on the mouth.
Just as seeing smoke as a warning that a fire may be burning, hearing snoring is a warning that sleep apnea may be present. And just as smokeless fires may be discovered late, with unfortunate consequences, so too may snore-free sleep apnea. Question any healthcare practitioner that treats only snoring without ruling out sleep apnea with a diagnostic sleep study. Read More