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At Heroes Dental, we want you and your family to flaunt full sets of straight, pearly whites, and we’re proud to say we can help at every step of the way. Luckily, Heroes Dental offers general dentistry and orthodontic services so every individual, no matter his or her age, can have that perfect smile.

When and why to opt for early orthodontic treatment.

The American Dental Association and the American Association of Orthodontists recommend that all children be evaluated by an orthodontist by age 7. At this age, treatment may not be necessary, but your orthodontist can figure out the need for intervention based on the state of jaw growth, as well as the room available for permanent teeth to come in.

What’s the point of early orthodontic treatment?

When an orthodontist has the opportunity to track growth and development of the oral cavity early on, he or she can determine when the best time to begin treatment for your child is – or even if it is needed. Early treatment may help prevent more serious dental problems from developing in adulthood. If orthodontic issues do arise later in life, early treatment means any future dental treatments will be shorter and less complicated.

What is early orthodontic treatment?

Orthodontic treatment in children is also known as interceptive orthodontics. Because the jaw and teeth are still growing and developing, orthodontic treatment can prevent crowding and malocclusion (misaligned teeth) later in life.

When early orthodontic treatment is recommended by an orthodontist, orthodontic appliances such as palatal expanders or partial braces are used to guide the growth of the developing teeth and jaw bone. The goal is to create a good environment for the adult teeth to come in.

It’s important to note that early intervention is generally followed by braces or other orthodontic appliances when the child reaches an appropriate age. Early treatment simply serves to shorten and simplify future treatments in key areas.

This is why a two-phased approach exists.

While the first phase of early orthodontic treatment involves guiding the movement and growth of teeth, the second phase is much shorter and less intensive.

The jaw and teeth will already be positioned for appropriate growth – which means there is a reduced need for complicated treatments in later years. In the second phase of treatment a full comprehensive orthodontic treatment, or regular braces, is generally initiated. This second phase, while much shorter, is much more effective due to early intervention.

To review, early treatment allows for:

  • Guiding jaw growth
  • Appropriate positioning of permanent teeth
  • Reducing the risk of long-term trauma to protruded teeth
  • Improving overall alignment of lips and jaw
  • Boosting self-esteem

What are some signs for the need of early treatment?

All those pesky dental problems you’ve had to tackle in adulthood may have been prevented with early orthodontic intervention. If you notice early signs of dental problems in your child, consider consulting with an orthodontist.

Your little one may benefit from early orthodontic treatment if he or she is experiencing early or late loss of baby teeth.

Some physical signs, such as an unbalanced facial appearance, crowded, misplaced, or protruded teeth are more obvious indications that your child may benefit from early orthodontic treatment.  

Other signs include:

  • Malocclusion (cross-bite, under-bite, or overbite)
  • Difficulty chewing and biting
  • Breathing through the mouth
  • Thumb sucking
  • Bruxism or teeth grinding
  • Speech impediments

What are the drawbacks of early orthodontic intervention?

In short, early orthodontic treatment may cost more. Because further treatment is required, as there are two phases to consider, total time visiting an orthodontists and total costs will be higher.

In many cases, however, children will not require early treatment unless there are serious dental development issues. However, in the case that intervention is necessary, early treatment will result in less complex therapy later in life.

At Heroes Dental, we welcome patients of all ages with open arms.

Whether you’re seeking an evaluation for early orthodontic treatment for your child or are curious about the adult orthodontic services we provide, Heroes Dental Orthodontics is happy to help.

Alongside our original three in San Juan, Mission, and Laredo, we now have locations in Pharr and Edinburg!  So we’re never too far from your home.

Request an appointment today for you and your family at one of our South Texas locations.

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