Here at Decatur Orthodontics, we’re proud to provide fun, family-focused care to patients of all ages in Decatur and surrounding communities. Our practice offers exceptional orthodontic care for patients of all ages. That means we see more than our fair share of young patients who need a little help with their smiles!
One way we’re able to accomplish this is with early orthodontic evaluations, something the American Association of Orthodontists recommends for every child by the time they’re seven years old. These visits give us the chance to identify and correct a child’s orthodontic issues before they’re able to develop into something more severe. This gets their smile off to the best possible start, setting them up for a lifetime of healthy smiles.
If you have a young child ready for their first orthodontic appointment, we’d love to meet you both and take a look at how their mouth is developing! When you schedule a complimentary consultation for your child, it will include an assessment of their oral health and development.
During this evaluation, Dr. Oral Francis will be looking for anything out of the ordinary that may warrant further attention. If they detect any possible issues between the ages of 6-9 or so, something called interceptive orthodontics may be recommended.
What is interceptive orthodontics?
Interceptive orthodontics, also known as Phase I orthodontics, is used to begin the right treatment for a young patient at the most optimal time. This proactive approach helps create space for the proper development and eruption of their permanent teeth. It can also enhance the growth of a child’s jaw. This often results in straighter teeth, better oral health overall, and a more symmetrical smile!
Who benefits from interceptive orthodontics?
Your child’s first visit to our Decatur office will include a painless but thorough examination of their teeth and jaws. If any of the following issues are present, Dr. Francis may recommend interceptive orthodontics.
- Your child appears to be prone to a problem we want to prevent.
- Your child already has a developing problem that we now want to intercept.
- Your child’s jawbones may need some guidance as they grow.
Several orthodontic issues are genetic, including gapped teeth, extra or missing teeth, and other irregularities. Others can be acquired through injury, premature tooth loss, or harmful oral habits. Some developmental issues may correct themselves as a child grows, while others will require immediate intervention. Whatever’s going on behind the scenes of your child’s smile, a bad bite can affect how it looks, feels, and functions. The good news? With interceptive orthodontics, we can successfully address all of these concerns!
What are some examples of interceptive orthodontics?
We often hear from parents in Decatur who are worried that an early orthodontic evaluation will lead to immediate treatment for their child. This may be a common concern, but we actually only recommend this for a small percentage of the young children we see. Even if we do recommend treatment for your child, it won’t necessarily mean putting braces on them right away—many effective Phase I treatments don’t use any brackets or wires at all! These will often include:
- removing one or more of the primary teeth to guide the proper placement of the permanent teeth
- using expanders to widen the upper jaw and provide space for very crowded teeth
- placing teeth spacers to save a spot for permanent teeth if a primary tooth has been lost early due to injury or decay
Dr. Francis can treat many common orthodontic problems with relative ease by following a child’s typical dental growth and development patterns. That’s because their mouth is still developing and has a good mix of primary and permanent teeth. This same treatment can become more complex and invasive once their jawbones stop growing, which generally occurs around 16-18 years old.
Interceptive orthodontics helps us achieve lasting results for many of the issues we’ve discussed here and can lessen the impact of others. However, it should be noted that most patients will still require a second phase of treatment with braces or aligners. This is what rounds out the treatment process, giving them a beautiful smile they’ll love for years to come!
Keeping an eye on your child’s smile as they grow
It’s common knowledge that regular visits to the dentist are an essential part of keeping a child’s smile in good shape. But did you know that regular orthodontic evaluations can be an important tool for oral health, too? Even if no problems are found during your child’s initial evaluation with us, we recommend follow-up visits with Dr. Francis as they grow. There are many benefits to this, including:
- the detection of any hidden dental problems
- a reduced need for jaw surgery later in life
- the ability to guide emerging adult teeth into the ideal positions
- reduced risk of impacted teeth
- a reduced need for tooth extractions in the future
Find your child’s best smile at Decatur Orthodontics
Early treatment isn’t necessary for all children, but it can be life-changing for those who do need it! Taking care of your child’s orthodontic issues early on will help prevent more serious problems later on. This can save you time and money in the long run and get your child’s smile off to a great start from day one!
Interceptive orthodontics in Decatur can also help improve the alignment between your child’s teeth and jaw, restoring the most optimal tooth and bite function. This will give them more stable results, increased self-confidence, and a beautifully aligned smile!
Is your young child ready for their first orthodontic evaluation? Get in touch today to schedule a FREE consultation with Dr. Francis and help your child take the first step towards a lifetime of healthy smiles.