Early and interceptive treatment
Our skilled orthodontic team at Park Smiles NYC Pediatrics offers early treatment to help your child achieve normal dental and facial development together with beautiful and straight teeth.
Early and interceptive treatment provides important benefits for children, including bite correction and jaw growth guidance that may reduce the severity and duration of treatment with braces.
Why would my child need early orthodontic treatment?
According to the American Association of Orthodontists, every child by the age of seven should have an orthodontic evaluation. Following are some of the reasons why your child should have an orthodontic evaluation – and why early treatment may be necessary:
- 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, an open bite in which the front teeth do not come together, 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 stop the habit in order to resolve problems and prevent further damage.
- Your child’s front 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 front teeth is that they can fall and break or even lose a tooth. Often, excessive protrusion also causes a deep bite that may affect lower jaw growth as well as extreme teeth wear and gum problems.
- Your child has an underbite. An underbite, also called anterior crossbite, is a serious problem that should be treated as soon as it’s noticed. With an underbite, the upper jaw’s growth is prevented by the lower jaw. If left to the teenage years, after active growth phase has passed, an underbite may result in extensive orthodontic treatment and even orthognathic surgery (jaw surgery) to fully correct.
- 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. Or, some adult teeth erupt but are severely crooked and sometimes in the wrong positions occupying all the available spaces. Much of the time, this is due to crowding in which the jaws are too small and narrow. Early treatment using a rapid palatal expander (RPE) can help make room to prevent the need for extractions in comprehensive orthodontic treatment to align teeth straight.
What is Phase I treatment?
Phase I treatment is early treatment in 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. It is called Phase I because it only addresses an orthodontic problem that needs intervention at an early stage. Most Phase I cases, but not all, also need Phase II treatment in later stage when more permanent teeth erupt. In Phase II, all kinds of orthodontic problems are treated and that completes the comprehensive orthodontic treatment.
Phase I may be recommended when a child still has some of their baby teeth and before 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.
How do I know if my child needs Phase I Orthodontics?
Your child’s pediatric dentist (or an orthodontist) will be able to tell if he or she will benefit from Phase I treatment. However, there are some telltale signs that you may notice yourself. These could include:
- Your child has crooked, crowded or gapped teeth
- They have protruding, flaring teeth
- Their teeth don’t come together correctly
- They have persistent habits like thumb sucking or pacifier use
- They have tongue thrusting
- They have a deep bite
- They have speaking issues
- They have problems breathing comfortably
Remember that orthodontic treatment is much easier, simpler and faster when a child is young and their facial bones haven’t fully developed yet. With Phase I orthodontics, future problems can be stopped before they even start to help your child achieve a beautiful smile they’ll always be proud of!
What if my child still has 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 dental and 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 the cause of problems.
After successful Phase I treatment, there’s usually a resting period waiting for baby teeth to fall out and adult teeth to erupt naturally. Your child’s orthodontist will check periodically to guide you on when to begin Phase II (if needed).
Schedule your consultation at Park Smiles NYC Pediatrics today If your child is seven years of age or younger and their teeth have crowding or spacing problems, an orthodontic evaluation at Park Smiles NYC Pediatrics is the first step to getting them the help they need.
Our skilled orthodontic team is here to help your child achieve a sparkling, straight and healthy smile for years to come. Schedule a consultation today by contacting us at (212) 988-6724.
Attaining healthy, straight teeth and a beautiful smile is like a Walk in the Park – at Park Smiles NYC Pediatrics!