October 25, 2018
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- Early orthodontic treatment is also called interceptive and “Phase 1” treatment and means treatment performed while baby teeth are still present. It is goal is to intercept developing problems, eliminates causes and guide the growth of the jaws.
- To find out if your child needs early treatment, an appointment with an specialist. is required. During the initial visit the orthodontist may determine: 1. that no treatment is needed at the time, 2. treatment may be needed in the future and your child will be followed periodically and 3. there is a problem and early treatment is necessary.
- Early treatment and its effectiveness have been the subject of studies in recent years in terms of its benefits in outcomes and cost effectiveness.
- The problem with having two phases of orthodontic treatment is that it can increase treatment duration and cost to the patient, with little or no difference of the end result. Keeping in mind that the child’s psychological well-being is also important early treatment is certainly justified.
- However, there are a several indications or signs when early treatment may be necessary :
- Loss of space due to early loss of baby teeth : When space is lost, insufficient space for the larger permanent teeth occurs. This lack of space will prevent the permanent teeth to come in correctly or worse yet it may not come in at all and become stuck in the jaws. The latter may require extractions and/or need for surgical exposure so it can be brought in the correct position.
- Crossbites (underbites) of one or more teeth in the front teeth, or of the posterior teeth either unilateral or bilateral : Crossbites left untreated may result in abnormal chewing, gingival recession, deviation of the jaws to one side of the face and has the potential to lead to facial asymmetry. Early treatment is necessary to return normal function and avoid the need for difficult treatment at adolescence.
- Open bite the result of the front teeth not meeting in the front : When teeth do not meet in the front speech and chewing are impaired. Most often the causes are finger sucking and tongue thrusting. In addition to speech and chewing problems, prolonged oral habits also alter the size of the upper jaw, making it narrow which in turn causes insufficient space for the permanent teeth and posterior crossbites.
- Excessive crowding and spacing.
- Esthetic concerns by the parents and or child : Esthetic concerns are a valid reason for early treatment since children are teased in school because of their teeth and become self conscious of their smile.