Jennings Orthodontics is here to make you smile! We’re proud to provide world-class care for the whole family from our Louisville and Mt. Washington offices. Our high-tech treatment options help us achieve exceptional results for patients of all ages, including young children. Many people are surprised to learn that we treat children since orthodontics is often associated with teens, but many younger patients also need help with their smile.
One way we can improve a child’s oral health is with early orthodontic evaluations. These are such an important tool that the American Association of Orthodontists recommends every child has one by the time they’re seven years old. These visits allow an experienced orthodontist like Dr. Jennings to identify and correct orthodontic issues before they can develop into something more serious. This sets kids 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 smile is developing so far. When you schedule a complimentary consultation for your child, Dr. Jennings will be looking for anything out of the ordinary that may warrant further attention. Early treatment may be recommended if any issues are detected between the ages of 6-9. Let’s take a look at what that means!
What is interceptive orthodontics?
Interceptive orthodontics is also known as Phase I orthodontics. This involves initiating the right treatment for a young patient at the most optimal time. Using this approach helps us create space for the proper development and eruption of a child’s permanent teeth and can also enhance the growth of their jaw. This results in straighter teeth, a more symmetrical smile, and better oral health.
Who is a good fit for interceptive orthodontics?
Your child’s first visit with us will include a painless but thorough examination of their teeth and jaws. Interceptive orthodontics may be recommended if any of the following issues are present.
- 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.
Some orthodontic issues are genetic, while others may be acquired through injury, premature tooth loss, or harmful oral habits. Certain developmental issues can correct themselves as a child grows, while others will require immediate intervention. Whatever the underlying cause, a bad bite can affect the way your child’s smile looks, feels, and functions. Fortunately, we can successfully address all of these concerns with interceptive orthodontics!
What are some examples of interceptive orthodontics?
We often hear from parents who are worried that an early orthodontic evaluation will lead to immediate treatment for their child. However, we recommend this for only a small percentage of the young children we see! Even if your child does need treatment, it won’t necessarily mean putting braces on them right away. In fact, many Phase I treatments don’t use any brackets or wires at all! These 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
Our expert team 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 they have a good mix of baby and adult teeth. This same treatment can become more complex 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 it can also 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 will round out the total treatment process, giving them a beautiful smile they’ll be able to enjoy for many years to come!
Monitoring your child’s smile as they grow
Regular visits to the dentist are an essential part of keeping a child’s smile in good shape as they grow. But did you know that periodic evaluations with an orthodontist can also be an important tool for oral health? If no problems are found during your child’s initial evaluation with us, we’ll invite them to join our growth monitoring program. This comes with many benefits, 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
- a reduced risk of impacted teeth
- a reduced need for tooth extractions in the future
Give your child’s smile the best start with Jennings Orthodontics
Early treatment won’t be 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 can help prevent more serious problems later on, saving you time and money in the long run. It will also get your child’s smile off to the best possible start!
Interceptive orthodontics 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 and a confident smile! Is your young child ready for their first orthodontic evaluation? Get in touch today to schedule a FREE consultation with Dr. Jennings! We’re excited to help your child take the first step towards a lifetime of healthy smiles.