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Benefits of Early Orthodontic Treatment

June 20, 2018

When it comes to orthodontics, many parents consider braces as only a cosmetic fix. This is a common misconception, especially when you are trying to decide what investments to make for your child. Dental care is crucial—even more crucial in a child’s early years. Many problems can be corrected before they ever become serious when addressed early on, which can save you and/or your child time and money down the road. Take some time to learn the benefits of early orthodontic treatment in Broomfield and see how your child can benefit.

Importance of Braces

Straight and properly aligned teeth, as well as the jaw, look great cosmetically. However, medically, it is important to have this as well. Crooked or crowded teeth, also known as malocclusion, make it difficult to properly brush and floss teeth. This can make proper dental hygiene difficult for even the most diligent of people.

When the teeth are not properly cared for, this will lead to issues such as cavities, tooth decay, and even gum disease. Gum disease, also known as periodontitis, is especially problematic. Why? It means bacteria, which comes from plaque build-up, has caused damage. This can lead to red, swollen and painful gums, bleeding, and even in extreme cases, movement of the teeth or tooth loss.

In addition to treating malocclusion, braces also fix a misaligned jaw. When the jaw is not aligned, it can cause a slew of issues that can get worse over time. In children, it can make speaking or eating difficult. Then also, in children and adults, a person can suffer from a temporomandibular joint (TMJ) disorder. This leads to pain anywhere on one’s head, even affecting the neck. It also makes it painful to talk or chew, and creates other symptoms such as tinnitus, headaches, hearing issues, and more.

Phase I and Phase II

If your dentist or orthodontist suspect or see signs that your child may have jaw issues and/or malocclusion, they can take advantage of a Phase I treatment option. Phase I orthodontics is a proactive approach that can begin when a child is as young as seven-years-old, up to 10. The orthodontics works with the child as they are growing to help everything come into place, properly. This is especially helpful if a child has an improper bite or crowding of the teeth. Phase I treatment has long-term benefits because it prevents many problems from happening, including the need for surgery, speech therapy, and more. Each situation is different, but problems can be corrected in as little as a year.

Phase II treatment is most common as it is the addition of braces to correct final alignment of teeth. It begins when most of the adult teeth have grown in, so it can be done for children as young as 11 or 12, or adults if they did not have braces as a child.

Working with a Growing Jaw

Early orthodontic treatment can work well with a growing jaw. As teeth start to come in, an orthodontist will monitor how the jaw is moving as it settles into place. If the jaw is showing signs that there will be issues, intercepting early can help positively manipulate the growth.

The jaw can be manipulated by using headgear, which will move the jaw into a specific place. A jaw expander can also be used for those with an underbite which will increase the width of the upper jaw. A reverse pull face mask can also help move the jaw in certain directions. Some of these issues occur naturally, while others happen if a child sucks their thumb or pushes on their front teeth with their tongue.

Curbing Thumb Sucking Damage

While thumb sucking can seem innocent at first for young children, it can become very problematic for their dental health if they continue the habit as they get older. When the thumb is in their mouth, especially for extended periods of time throughout the day, it will impact the roof of their mouth and the way their adult teeth grow in. Aggressive thumb sucking can even impact their primary teeth as well. In addition, thumb sucking can lead to an overbite or underbite, as well as speech impediments.

On average, it is ideal to encourage your child to stop sucking their thumb when they turn four or five years old. Since each child grows differently, speak with your local orthodontist. Breaking the habit can be challenging, but you can do it! Use these nine ways to wean a child off thumb sucking to help.

Improved Speech

When a child’s teeth are not properly aligned, not only can it lead to health issues—but can lead to speech impediments too. One of the most common issues that lead to speech impediments is having an improper bite. When the teeth do not close down all the way, the gap makes it difficult for a child to say certain words. Thumb sucking can also change the shape of a child’s palette, also affecting the bite and the way they speak.

Using Phase I orthodontic treatment is great to curb some of these issues early. When you work with your orthodontist on a plan, they are able to prevent certain issues before they happen. This can save your family money down the road and help avoid certain issues and challenges that may occur when they are older.

Early orthodontic treatment is very beneficial for several children. While it can seem intimidating to them, you can learn how to ease your child’s fears about visiting an orthodontist near Superior. The team at Prentice Orthodontics are experts in the field and will do everything we can to make your child’s experience fun and comfortable. Our kid-friendly environment will help them feel relaxed as we work on their Phase I plan that will lead to improved long-term health and dental benefits. Contact Prentice Orthodontics today to schedule your child’s first visit. We can assess their situation and work on a Phase I treatment plan if one is necessary. We look forward to seeing your family in our office!