Statistically speaking, in any given group of children, chances are good that some of these kids are undergoing orthodontic correction with braces or clear aligners. In the US alone, 4 million kids and teens see an orthodontist every year. Orthodontic treatment can generally be done at any time after age 7; however, there is one type of treatment specifically for children whose mouths are still growing.
This specific treatment is called interceptive orthodontics and it has become more common in recent years. Undergoing this type of orthodontic treatment can improve your child’s overall experience and outcome. Dr. Ryan Redford knows the importance of interceptive orthodontics and the benefits that can come from an early start.
The Best Age to Get Braces for Kids
Interceptive orthodontic treatment starts before all the permanent teeth have erupted through the gums and into the mouth. It most commonly occurs between ages 7-11. Standard orthodontic treatment (child’s braces), on the other hand, usually start around the age of 11-12 after most permanent teeth have erupted.
Interceptive treatment often utilizes several techniques besides kid’s braces. These range from behavioral modification to special devices. After interceptive orthodontic treatment, there is usually a waiting period of several months or years before standard treatment begins.
The goal of this treatment is to impact the development and growth of the jaws and other oral structures that would be difficult to implement once a child is older.
Interceptive orthodontics is most effective while the child is still growing, which is why it begins early. When utilized correctly, the results achieved would not have been otherwise possible without more invasive treatments.
Preparing for a Child’s Braces
A common type of treatment in interceptive orthodontics is the use of a palatal expander. This is useful when the upper jaw of a child is not large enough to accommodate all the permanent teeth. When teeth erupt in poor alignment or are crowded together, this can affect the child’s bite. Palatal expanders are also used when then there is an upper and lower jaw size (width) mismatch. In other words, when the upper jaw is too narrow to fit properly with the lower jaw.
For each child, the expander is custom-made, and it slowly widens the growth plate that runs front-to-back down the midline of the upper jaw. Again, this can be useful in correcting back tooth crossbites or creating addition room to accommodate the erupting permanent teeth. While extractions cannot be eliminated in all cases, expanders can be very useful in keeping a child “in the game” with respect to avoiding extraction of permanent teeth. There are several different versions of palatal expanders (depending on the specific needs of the child), and they are typically worn for between 3 to 12 months.
Another common type of interceptive device is known as a functional appliance. The purpose of functional devices is to influence bone development and muscle activity in a child’s jaws. The goal is repositioning of the jaw relationships.
Functional appliances work by redirecting jaw development to restrict or promote certain growth patterns. When used at the correct time, a functional appliance may reduce the need for treatments that are more complex such as jaw surgery or extractions.
Other Interceptive Orthodontic Appliances
Not all interceptive orthodontic appliances involve movement of the teeth or jaws. Sometimes preserving space for future teeth is a part of this therapy. A “space maintainer” is a small device that is used when a primary tooth has fallen out or been removed prematurely. Made of metal and/or acrylic, it holds space for a permanent tooth to erupt. Holding this space open permits a permanent tooth to erupt in its correct location. Space maintainers are also used to take advantage space difference between the baby molars and the adult premolar teeth that replace them (otherwise known as “leeway space”). In cases that are on the border of permanent tooth extractions, these devices can make all the difference.
Another effective appliance that is a part of interceptive orthodontics is a habit appliance. This is a fixed appliance that is used as a deterrent to a finger or thumb sucking habit that has gone on too long. If left unchecked, thumb sucking can create serious problems with a child’s bite. This is most commonly seen an open bite or an excess overjet (too much front-to-back overbite).
Early Screening in Preparation of Kid’s Braces
Not all children will require interceptive treatment before getting braces. However, it is helpful for a certain proportion of kids. When complex problems are apparent, the decision to begin interceptive orthodontic treatment may be easy to make.
However, when problems are not as obvious, meeting with an orthodontist who specializes in interceptive orthodontics, such as Dr. Ryan Redford, is an important step to take. Dr. Redford can assess and diagnose conditions in children that may not be evident so that treatment can begin at the appropriate time to achieve the best orthodontic outcome.
There are numerous advantages of early intervention. Early treatment can have a positive impact on tooth development, facial growth, and self-esteem. Interceptive orthodontic treatment can provide dramatic functional and/or esthetic improvements, which may improve a child’s quality of life in the future.
Types of Orthodontic Treatment Once All Permanent Teeth Have Erupted
What are the different types of braces for kids?
Clear ceramic braces are a popular option for kids who want clear braces. The brackets used in ceramic braces are clear or tooth colored. A white-coated archwire may also be paired with ceramic braces so the braces are less visible.
Metal braces are time-tested and proven. They are still a great orthodontic option and produce a quality orthodontic outcome in children.
Self-ligating braces are a type of technologically advanced braces that are available in both ceramic and metal options. Clear Damon braces are one of the available brands. Self-ligating braces use a sliding mechanism to attach the archwire to brackets, rather than ligatures. This results in quicker appointments and a more comfortable experience for the patient. Self-ligating braces are used exclusively in our practice.
Invisalign is an orthodontic system that uses a set of clear tray aligners that straighten teeth gradually over time. A new set of trays are started every 1-to-2 weeks. Several sets of trays are given at each adjustment/check appointment, which reduces the total number of appointments needed.
Invisalign teen is a type of clear aligner system that was produced with teens in mind. These tray aligners have a couple of added features that aid teens during orthodontic treatment. One feature is eruption tabs. Eruption tabs provide room for molars that have not yet come in, as well as assist the erupting molars into proper position.
Patients that are searching for “invisible braces Temecula” will discover the doctors at Burke & Redford Orthodontists provide quality interceptive care as well as technologically advanced orthodontic treatment.
You can call our main office at (951) 699-8011 or fill out the Schedule a Consultation form on our website anytime.