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dr Okuda with a young patient smiling

As parents, our kids’ well being always comes first, from their health and happiness to their self-esteem and confidence. Given that a straight smile can play a significant role in confidence for children and adults alike, it goes without saying that orthodontic treatment is more than an investment in your child’s oral health — it’s an investment in their overall quality of life.

As with all things related to orthodontics, it’s always better to prevent issues before they start than to try to fix them afterwards. That’s why Okuda & Noorda Orthodontics is a big advocate for early orthodontic treatment and one of its main benefits is the early identification and prevention of more complicated orthodontic concerns.

Wondering if your child is a candidate for interceptive orthodontic treatment? Not sure whether your child is ready for orthodontic treatment? Here, your Henderson orthodontists are answering all your questions about early childhood orthodontics.

What is Interceptive Orthodontic Treatment?

Before we dive into the pros and cons of interceptive orthodontics, you’re probably wondering what it is in the first place. To define interceptive orthodontic treatment, we need to take a step back and first talk about your child’s first orthodontic appointment.

The American Association of Orthodontics recommends that children have their first orthodontic visit by age seven. At that time, your child will have a combination of baby and adult teeth, which allows the orthodontist to diagnose potential bite issues in their earliest stage. In most cases, we’ll recommend holding off on treatment until your child has all of their adult teeth. We’ll have regular appointments so we can keep an eye on their development, and we’ll let you know when it’s time for the next step.

However, if we identify certain red flags at your child’s first appointment, they may be a candidate for interceptive orthodontics. This type of early treatment catches orthodontic issues before they have the chance to develop, giving us the opportunity to guide your child’s future oral development. Interceptive orthodontics takes place in two phases. In Phase One, we guide jaw and facial growth with an orthodontic appliance while the child is still growing. In Phase Two, we use braces or Invisalign® Teen to move the permanent teeth into their ideal places.

Benefits of Interceptive Orthodontic Treatment

The main benefit of interceptive orthodontics is clear: it allows us to intercept and correct problems before they become more serious. In reality, there are many benefits of orthodontic treatment for young kids, including:

  • Guides the proper development of teeth and jaws
  • Creates a strong foundation for correct eruption and development of permanent teeth
  • Lowers your child’s risk of gum, tooth and jaw injury from protruding teeth
  • Creates facial symmetry
  • Decreases your child’s risk of speech problems
  • Ensures treatment is easier, shorter and more affordable in the teen or adult years
  • Reduces your child’s chances of needing extensive (and expensive!) orthodontic treatment in the future
  • Helps to prevent teeth grinding in children and teens
  • Helps to break negative oral habits like thumb sucking or tongue thrusting
  • Lowers your child’s risk of developing cavities, tooth decay and periodontal disease
  • Improves your child’s overall happiness and self-confidence

Does My Child Need Interceptive Orthodontics?

Many parents have a hard time understanding why their child would need orthodontic treatment at such a young age. And as we said, most children don’t need to start orthodontic treatment until they get all their permanent teeth. Rest assured that we would never begin orthodontic treatment for your child unless we deemed it absolutely necessary. But if your child shows early signs of developing one of the following orthopedic conditions, interceptive orthodontics will have a significant positive impact on their future health.

  • Protruding front teeth: Often caused by negative habits like thumb sucking, protruding front teeth can diminish your child’s self-confidence and increases their chances of tooth injury or loss.
  • Underbites and overbites
  • Anterior or posterior crossbites: This type of bite occurs when the jaw shifts to one side and can cause asymmetrical jaw growth, gum recession or excessive wear on the teeth.
  • Crowding or overly spaced out teeth. Early or late loss of baby teeth can cause issues with normal tooth development.

At Okuda & Noorda Orthodontics, we’re recognized leaders in the early treatment of bite disorders in children. We want all of our patients and their parents to feel educated on and supported in decisions regarding interceptive orthodontic treatment and its benefits. If you have any questions about interceptive orthodontics or are ready to book your child’s first orthodontic appointment, contact us today.

Dr. Okuda

Author Dr. Okuda

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