Early orthodontic intervention can help your child avoid years of pain and heartbreak by treating common and even rare developmental issues early. Almost all developing orthodontic issues can be treated and corrected early if they are caught in time. 

At Bordentown Braces and Cream Ridge Orthodontics, our skilled orthodontist Dr. Newman recommends children have their first orthodontic evaluation no later than age seven, or younger if the front four permanent teeth have replaced the baby teeth.

This early treatment is also called interceptive treatment or Phase I treatment. It provides a timely detection of problems, and also creates greater opportunities for more effective treatment since the jaws and mouth are still soft and malleable. Early intervention is essential because it guides growth and development, preventing serious problems later on that could cause permanent problems like missing teeth.

Who Needs Early Orthodontic Treatment?

There are numerous warning signs which indicate your kid might need to see an orthodontist soon. These include:

  • If the teeth do not fit together properly
  • If your child continues to suck their thumb after age 5
  • Protruding teeth such as bucked front teeth
  • Losing baby teeth before age 5 or after age 13
  • Trouble biting or chewing
  • Snoring or trouble breathing while sleeping
  • Having a speech impediment
  • If the jaw shifts or pops when opening or closing it

These signs mean the jaws do not align properly and that the teeth are starting to emerge at odd angles. If your child has one or more of these characteristics, its important to seek early orthodontic treatment to avoid more serious issues later in life.

What Is Early Orthodontics?

Early orthodontics, also called interventive orthodontics, is treatment which occurs when a patient still has some of their baby teeth. Most people lose all of their baby teeth by the time they turn 12, but sometimes treatment is necessary at a young age to stop serious conditions like a narrow palate, a deep bite, or overlapping teeth that could become painful.

If your child is under the age of 12 and still has some baby teeth, but is experiencing the warning signs mentioned earlier, they are a candidate for early orthodontics. This interventive care can help your kids have an easier time eating, chewing, sleeping, and speaking and avoid more serious orthodontic care down the road.

Why Is Intervention Crucial?

Proper orthodontic intervention can stop your child from experiencing dramatic oral health problems as they age. Their mouths before puberty are much more malleable and will respond easier to treatment than that of a teenager or adult, and surgical intervention is also simpler and often less expensive.

For example, let’s say your child suffers from a narrow upper palate that is causing a severe overbite. As a kid, the upper mouth has not set. This means wearing a palate expander for a few months can fix the issue, saving both of you from years of braces and even jaw surgery in the future.

Oral Health and Wellness

Intervention can also stop your child from having to suffer from an increased risk of tooth decay, gum disease, and permanent tooth loss. Studies show that crooked or crowded smiles are more difficult to clean and maintain. They therefore more commonly suffer from oral health problems that can lead to bone erosion, dental rot, and even permanent tooth and gum loss.

Orthodontic care can also simplify necessary tasks. Children with orthodontic conditions often struggle to eat and speak properly, and can miss out on years of important development. This can put them behind other children of their age and make it difficult to socialize and participate at school. Getting treatment early can help kids reach developmental milestones and learn the skills they need to advance.

The Benefits of Early Orthodontics

If you are considering braces for kids at a young age, you might be interested to know the numerous benefits available.

  1. It helps our orthodontist create a better prognosis of what the permanent teeth will look like when they emerge. Early treatment ensures the permanent teeth are aligned and fit properly, improving your child’s oral health in the long run.
  2. Early orthodontic care helps eliminate habits like tongue thrusting (where your child pushes their tongue up against the backs of their teeth) and thumb sucking. These behaviors are known for causing developmental issues and should be curbed so the jaws grow and connect properly.
  3. Treatment guides the growth of the jaw so it can better accommodate the permanent teeth. Because the jaw is soft and not set in children, treatment is short and the jaw can be easily moved.
  4. It helps expand the palate so future problems are avoided.
  5. It corrects common issues like jaw pain, dysfunction, crossbites, overbites, and underbites.
  6. It reduces the risk of your child developing serious tooth decay and gum disease at a young age by eliminating overcrowding and helping the gums strengthen over time.
  7. Orthodontic care lowers the risk of damage to the teeth by ensuring the proper alignment and eliminating protrusions.
  8. Early orthodontic car can improve your child’s appearance and confidence since straight teeth are seen as desirable and are easier to care for than crooked ones.

How to Receive Treatment

To get involved in early orthodontics, you need to find a skilled orthodontist in Hamilton, NJ, that works with young patients. At Bordentown Braces, we have special programs and procedures in place for early intervention so children as young as 6 or 7 can get the treatment they need. To receive treatment, schedule an initial consultation. During this appointment, our staff will take x-rays of your child’s mouth and jaws and perform a physical exam. We can tell you based off of these results what kind of treatment your kid will need to develop a healthy smile. We then create a custom treatment plan just for you and your child to help them meet developmental milestones and remain healthy and strong.