What is Early Orthodontic Treatment?
Early orthodontic treatment is the first phase of orthodontic treatment. As your child’s jaw grows and develops, certain factors can cause problems during development that can lead to misaligned teeth, airway problems, speech problems, and TMJ disorders. Early orthodontic treatment helps guide and promote jaw growth and development to prevent these issues from occurring.
Signs Your Child Might Need Early Orthodontics
Unless you regularly visit a dentist who specializes in early orthodontics, you might not know that they’re an option for your child, or if your child would benefit from them. Here are some of the signs your child might need early orthodontics. If you suspect they need early orthodontics, we strongly encourage you to schedule an appointment at Center for TMJ & Sleep Apnea
Their Teeth Protrude Too Far
One of the signs your child could benefit from early orthodontics is when their teeth protrude too far from their mouth. This commonly happens as a result of thumb sucking or using a sippy cup for too long. It can also indicate that the lower jaw isn’t growing as fast as the upper jaw. The reason protruding teeth are such a problem in children is that if they fall and crack or break a tooth, it can result in the need for extensive dental care for the rest of their life. It can also result in extreme wear in the back teeth as well as jaw problems.
Crowded Teeth or Not Enough Room to Accommodate All Teeth
If your child loses a baby tooth and their adult tooth is nowhere to be seen, this is a sign that your child’s jaw is too small and narrow to accommodate the adult tooth. Early intervention orthodontics can help expand the jaw to make room for all the teeth.
They Breathe Through Their Mouth, Snore, or Grind Their Teeth
Mouth breathing, snoring and teeth grinding are all associated with narrow arches, a bad bite, and crowding. Without treatment, your child might suffer from obstructive sleep apnea which can increase other serious health risks. Snoring and mouth breathing is not normal in children. We strongly recommend visiting an ENT (Ear, Nose, and Throat Specialist) and our Lee’s Summit dentists. Oftentimes, children could benefit from either having their tonsils removed or early orthodontic treatment.
They Suck Their Thumb
Thumb sucking might look like a cute habit, but it can result in lots of problems if the habit persists too long. It can cause the teeth to push out too far and the jaws to grow in the wrong direction. It can also result in eating difficulties and speech problems down the line.
They Have an Underbite
When your child’s bottom teeth stick out further than their upper teeth, this means they have an underbite. Underbites will require extensive orthodontic work and potentially jaw surgery to fix as your child enters their teenage years.
They Have Speech Problems
There are many different causes of speech impediments but one of them is oral health problems. If your child has a speech impediment, it wouldn’t hurt to have them evaluated for early orthodontics.
Benefits of Early Orthodontics
When you invest in early orthodontics for your child, you can look forward to improving their oral and overall health in many ways. Some of the benefits include the following.
- Shorter orthodontic treatment times or eliminate the need for orthodontics
- Prevent breathing problems and sleep disorders
- Promote symmetrical facial growth
- Correct oral habits
- Prevent the need for jaw surgery
- Reduce or eliminate the need for extractions
- Improve or prevent speech problems
- Reduce the time of future orthodontics
- Reduce or eliminate bite problems (malocclusions)
Early Orthodontic Treatment Options in Lee’s Summit
If you think early orthodontics might be a good option for your child, we highly recommend booking a consultation with our dentists in Lee’s Summit. During the consultation, we will determine if they’re a good candidate for early orthodontic treatment and recommend the best treatment option. We offer several different treatment options including Biobloc Appliance Therapy (Orthotropics), Advanced Lightwire Functional Appliances (ALF), Homeoblock Appliances, and Myobrace. Each holistic orthodontic treatment option serves a different purpose. We will recommend the best one for your child.
We can start treating children as young as five years old. Please request a consultation to learn more about early orthodontic treatment by calling (816) 795-1000 today.