Interceptive Orthodontics

“Shouldn’t I wait to get my child braces until they have all their permanent teeth?” The answer to that question depends on many factors. Ideally, your child’s orthodontic needs can be addressed most quickly and easily during adolescence, when Dr. Ben McDowell can utilize your child’s growth to obtain ideal functional and facial aesthetics. However, there are many circumstances that, if not addressed before adolescence, will result in a much more challenging, long, and even compromised orthodontic result.

As early as age seven, certain problems can arise that are best addressed immediately. An uncorrected posterior crossbite can result in your child positioning his/her jaw to one side in order to chew better. This may result in an altered growth pattern in which one side of the jaw grows faster than the other. If this continues for an extended period of time, the resultant asymmetry may not be able to be corrected without jaw surgery. Anterior crossbites should also be corrected as early as possible. In cases where this is due to a lack of growth of the upper jaw, our orthodontist can utilize an orthopedic appliance to accelerate its growth. However, if not treated before age 10, there is usually very minimal skeletal correction that can occur. Also, incisors that are left in a crossbite will usually develop significant wear and damage to the tooth that will remain even after the teeth are aligned.

Thumb or finger sucking has negative effects on the position of the incisors and can produce a significant narrowing of the jaws. This habit should be stopped at age six at the latest to avoid significant consequences like a posterior crossbite and incisors that stick too far forward. If needed, we can utilize appliances to aid your child in stopping thumb or finger sucking.

Impacted canines and eptopic eruption (teeth growing in the wrong location) can frequently be avoided if addressed early. A simple X-ray can show us if the teeth are developing in the right direction. If they are not, depending on the location of the tooth, Dr. Ben McDowell can prescribe something as simple as an extraction of a particular baby tooth or utilize orthodontic appliances to move teeth to redirect and prevent an impacted tooth. When an impacted canine is allowed to continue moving in the wrong direction, it can result in a much longer orthodontic treatment, with costly surgical assistance, to bring it into the right location. Even worse, an impacted canine may be so severe that it will cause significant damage to the roots of the adjacent incisors and may even result in the loss of one or more teeth.

Again, we want to emphasize that most children will not need this early interceptive treatment and can be placed in the Payson Ortho Kids Club. But when treatment is needed, our orthodontist would love to help your child avoid significant, costly problems in the future by providing interceptive orthodontics in Payson, Arizona. We invite you to contact Payson Orthodontics today to learn more and to schedule your child’s visit.