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Early Orthodontic Treatment for Prevention

Posted Nov 03 2010 10:14pm

It's true that wearing braces has become somewhat of a rite of passage for young people. However, as a parent it's important to know that not all orthodontic treatment occurs only during those pre-teen years. In fact, there are certain malocclusions ("bad bites") that are more appropriate to treat at an earlier age. Waiting until all the permanent teeth come in and fall and skeletal growth is complete, may make resolution of some problems more difficult. So it is better to start an early orthodontic treatment for prevention.

The American Association of Orthodontics (AAO) recommends that all children receive an orthodontic screening by age seven. It's an ideal time to determine what orthodontic treatment, if any, may be needed either now or in the future.

Why Early Care?

Early treatment, also known as interceptive orthodontics typically occurs between the ages of seven and 10. Treatment is directed at taking advantage of a child's growth to provide suf­ficient room for the alignment of the adult teeth. This may make treatment at a later stage shorter and less complicated and can prevent more serious problems from developing.

The most common reasons for early orthodontic treat­ment include the follow

•    Protruding front teeth (buck teeth)
•    Crossbites
•    Harmful oral habits
•    Jaw discrepancies
•    Crowded teeth

A Window of Opportunity

Early orthodontic treatment traditionally involves only the adult permanent teeth present in the mouth. Many modalities, including palatal expanders, removable appliances and conventional fixed braces are available. The length of early treatment can range from as little as six to as much as 20 months.

Early treatment provides the orthodontist with a window of opportunity to significantly improve the dental development in those patients where treatment is indicated. It's possible that this therapy may reduce or eliminate the need for more invasive treatment later on, such as removal of teeth or jaw surgery.

Most of orthodontic facilities of today have the specialized equipment, facility and staff to properly address today's most demanding orthodontic needs.

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