Early Treatment

Timing is everything:

The American Association of Orthodontists recommends that all children be evaluated by an orthodontic specialist by the age of 7. Dr. Lenhart and Dr. Sherman are highly trained to spot problems in the developing teeth and jaws of young children. During this initial evaluation, we can determine the proper timing for any needed treatment now or in the future. Early orthodontic treatment, also called “interceptive” treatment is done while baby teeth are still present, usually between the ages of 7-10. While there are many orthodontic problems that orthodontists agree are best treated after all or most of the permanent teeth are in, early treatment may be best for some patients if it is determined that their problems will become more serious over time if left untreated.

What types of problems require early treatment?

Your child may be a candidate for interceptive treatment, if any of the following conditions exist:

  • Underbites- when the lower front teeth are ahead of the upper front teeth
  • Crossbites- lower teeth are outside the upper teeth, often with a jaw shift to oneside
  • Very crowded teeth
  • Excessively space teeth
  • Extra or missing teeth
  • Teeth that meet abnormally, or don’t meet at all
  • Thumb, Finger, or pacifier sucking that is affecting the teeth or jaw growth
  • Underdevelopment of the jaws

What types of appliances are used for early treatment?

Interceptive orthodontic treatment can take many forms. Dr. Lenhart and Dr. Sherman will customize your child’s plan to best meet their individual needs. We may used fixed appliances like rapid palatal expanders or temporary braces. Some removable appliances are also used for certain situations. Sometimes, no appliances are needed but the doctors may recommend selective removal of baby teeth to help guide eruption. Regardless of how early treatment goals are reached, the bottom line is that some orthodontic problems may be easier to correct if they are found and treated early. Waiting until all the permanent teeth have come in, or until facial growth is nearly complete, may make correction of some problems more difficult.