In the past, orthodontic treatment did not begin until around ages 12-14. This is when all permanent teeth are already erupted or very close to it. Modern dental practitioners now advocate a way to treat teeth with phased interceptive orthodontics.
In interceptive orthodontics, children are treated at much earlier ages — usually between 7-11 years old to take advantage of continual growth. Parents and children need to understand that when interceptive orthodontics is performed there is usually more than one phase of treatment. Going through the phases allows for the second phase to be shorter in duration.
Sometimes, interceptive ortho is needed to correct problems related to skeletal development, crowding of teeth, uneven development of the upper and lower jaw, and crossbites constricting the palates. Other times, it is needed as a direct result of oral habits like thumb or fingersucking or pacifier habits.
Examples of Interceptive Orthodontic Treatment
Expansion of one or both of the jaws to create space for overly crowded teeth
Early removal of specific baby teeth to facilitate proper eruption of permanent teeth
Maintain space for permanent teeth after premature loss of a baby tooth
Reducing the protrusion of upper incisors to decrease the likelihood of fracture from trauma
Recent studies have shown that orthodontic treatment improves malocclusions. Malocclusions affect the way you smile, chew, clean your teeth and the way you feel about your smile. Studies have shown that left untreated, these issues can cause problems later in life. Crowded teeth are much difficult to brush and floss, which may contribute to tooth decay. Protruding teeth are more susceptible to accidental chipping. Crossbites can contribute to and result in unfavorable growth and uneven tooth wear. Open bites can result in tongue-thrusting habits and speech issues.