Early orthodontic treatment
Our sckilled orthodontic team at Park Smiles NYC offers early treatment to help your child achieve a healthy and straight smile. Early Treatment provides important benefits for children, including bite correction and jaw growth guidance that may reducethe severity and duration of treatment with braces.
Benefits of Clear aligners
Your child has a persistent thumb, finger or tongue habit. These types of childhood habits should be eliminated by the time your child enters kindergarten. If left untreated, they could cause the front teeth to be pushed out too far and the shape of the palate to change. Speech problems in addition to eating difficulties are common in children with these persistent habits. Early treatment is an important step to help mitigate extensive bite correction procedures down the road.
Your child has an under bite. An under bite is a serious problem that should be treated as soon as it’s noticed. With an under bite, the upper jaw’s growth is prevented by the lower jaw. If left to the teenage years, an under bite may result in extensive orthodontic treatment and even orthognathic surgery (jaw surgery) to fully correct.
Your child’s teeth protrude too far. This is a problem commonly related to a thumb or finger habit, but it can also be growth-related. One of the biggest problems in children with severely protruding teeth is that they can fall and break or even lose a tooth, resulting in extensive dental work for the rest of their life. It can also cause extreme wear of their back teeth, resulting in jaw problems later in life as well as gum problems.
There isn’t enough room for the adult teeth to come in. Not uncommon, a child loses their baby teeth, then months later there’s no sign of any adult teeth starting to emerge. Much of the time, this is due to a crowding problem in which the jaws are too small and narrow. Early treatment using a rapid palatal expander (RPE) can help make room without the need for extractions.
What is Phase I and interceptive treatment?
Interceptive treatment is a phased type of orthodontics that means diagnosing and treating malocclusions (bad bites) at an early stage to prevent and/or lessen the severity of orthodontic problems in the future.
Phase I in interceptive treatment, typically recommended for children between the ages of six and ten years old, is an early treatment designed to maximize the benefit of young age with continuously developing bone and teeth and prevent future issues that could require extensive treatment and even surgery. This phase involves different types of appliances such as a rapid palatal expander (RPE) and/or a partial set of braces. Phase I treatment can range over a period of six to twelve months.
Phase I may be recommended when a child still has some of their baby teeth and before all of their permanent teeth have erupted. Once Phase I is completed, retainers are given to maintain the treatment outcome until Phase II treatment is ready, which is usually when almost all permanent teeth have emerged. Phase II will usually consist of braces or clear aligners, but additional appliances may be necessary.
The misconception about baby teeth
While parents may think that misaligned baby teeth are harmless because they’ll eventually fall out, this is far from true. Baby teeth actually play an important role in clearing the path for the permanent teeth, in addition to enabling your child to eat, speak, and breathe comfortably. Early diagnosis and necessary early treatment are very important to allow normal growth of facial structures.
Issues with baby teeth can commonly lead to problems in all of these areas, and without early intervention a child will usually need more complex and extended treatments to correct their problems. The goal of Phase I Orthodontics is to avoid and lessen future orthodontic problems by correcting current ones.
After successful Phase I treatment — in which proper room has been created for permanent teeth to find their eruption path — there’s usually a resting period where the teeth are left alone to erupt naturally. Your child’s orthodontist will guide you on when to begin Phase II (if needed).
How do I know if my child needs Phase I
- Your child has crooked, crowded or gapped teeth
- They have protruding teeth
- Their teeth don’t come together correctly
- They have habits like thumb sucking or pacifier use that could affect their dental development
- They have tongue thrusting
- They have speaking issues
- Their incoming adult teeth are obstructed by baby teeth
- They have problems breathing comfortably
PARK SMILES NYC
Creating world-class smiles with a universal approach to empathetic dental care