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Early Treatment

Importance of Timely Assessment:

The American Association of Orthodontists advises children to have an orthodontic evaluation by age 7. Specialists like Dr. Lenhart and Dr. Sherman are skilled in identifying developing issues in children’s teeth and jaws. This early assessment helps decide the ideal timing for immediate or future treatments.

Early Treatment: Interceptive Orthodontics

Early orthodontic or interceptive treatment typically occurs between ages 7-10 while baby teeth are still present. Although many orthodontic issues are better addressed after most permanent teeth erupt, some conditions are more effectively treated early to prevent worsening.

Conditions Warranting Early Intervention:

  • Interceptive treatment may be necessary for several conditions, including:
  • Underbites (lower front teeth ahead of upper front teeth)
  • Crossbites (lower teeth outside upper teeth, possibly with jaw shift)
  • Highly crowded or excessively spaced teeth
  • Extra or missing teeth
  • Abnormal teeth meeting or not meeting at all
  • Impact of thumb, finger, or pacifier sucking on teeth or jaw growth
  • Underdeveloped jaws

Types of Early Treatment Appliances:

Dr. Lenhart and Dr. Sherman tailor early treatments to each child’s unique needs. This might involve fixed appliances like rapid palatal expanders or temporary braces, or removable appliances for specific cases. Sometimes, early treatment involves selective removal of baby teeth to guide the eruption of permanent teeth.

The Advantages of Early Treatment:

Addressing certain orthodontic problems early can simplify later corrections. Delaying treatment until all permanent teeth have emerged or until facial growth is nearly complete may complicate the correction of some issues. Early intervention often leads to more straightforward, effective treatments.