We like to see children come in at age 7 or thereabouts because if they have an insipiant problem sometimes you can just beat it right there and get it over with and they'll never need anymore treatment at all. Over the years we've done a lot of stuff where we've put a whole bunch of braces on the little kids and it's turned out that you still need a second phase of treatment anyhow. A bunch of studies were done and said, ”You know what? For the most part, you don't need to do a whole bunch of this stuff for little kids.” But if they have what's called a cross bite where the upper teeth are inside the lower teeth, or the upper front teeth are behind the lower front teeth, that's called a cross bite. They'd like to go and have that interrupted so that the kids skeleton develops properly and so forth. That's a sign for some interceptive orthodontics.
With children that are 7 or 8 years old, it's real easy to expand their palates. You don't need any cranking materials or anything like that. It's just a light spring that'll do that. I've treated some kids, believe it or not, with a Popsicle stick. Whether their upper teeth are behind their lower teeth and if they'll just put a Popsicle stick and use it as a lever it'll come forward. Doesn't cost much. I don't make a lot of money doing it, but it's very effective. If they can't do that, I've made a simple little ledge out of acrylic. Where they keep biting down on the ledge and their teeth move automatically and 3 or 4 months later we take the ledge off and everything's fine too. Again, not very cost effective as far as me making a profit but it's good for the child.
A lot of children are skeletally out of whack as far as balance and norms in which case we'll try to go and effect their growth by either pushing their lower jaw back or moving their upper jaw forward or something to that effect. Sometimes those things need to be addressed early, but most orthodontists will see people and say, ”Hi, you've got a problem and you don't need treatment. Honey, you've got a problem you do need treatment.” Time it out so you don't have to have two sets of treatment. I've got about 10 or 15 interceptive cases going now, but it's really difficult type things if you don't do it other teeth are going to get blocked out and they're going to have bigger problems later on and have to worry about extractions or maybe surgery.
Our Boca Raton, FL orthodontic office offers full preventive orthodontic treatment for children. We can monitor issues to determine what treatment, if any, is needed, and help to prevent larger orthodontic problems. Below you will learn more about your child’s first orthodontic appointment, common issues among children, and how we can help. Feel free to contact our office by calling (561) 391-6415 with any concerns you may have.
Your Child’s First Orthodontic Appointment
Dr. Eckelson knows how important early orthodontic care may be for your child’s facial and dental development. The American Association of Orthodontists recommends that children should be screened for orthodontic needs at age 7. Dr. Eckelson offers a free evaluation of your child’s dental and facial development. Most children do not require urgent care, but those who do can often experience more difficult and expensive problems later on if not treated at a young age.
Together with Dr. Eckelson, you and your child will walk through the process of needs, timing, and appropriate treatment appliances to achieve a beautiful and healthy smile. Usually, early treatment, if needed, will decrease the amount of future care needed. Whatever your child’s needs are, Dr. Eckelson will put your mind at ease with a thorough explanation of the timing and application of treatment.
Common Childhood Problems
There are a few common childhood issues that we always check for when seeing a patient for the first time. These problems include:
- crossbite (narrow arches)
- short jaw
- missing teeth
These are problems that are commonly found during your child’s developmental stages. We offer a range of solutions in order to help your child have the beautiful, comfortable smile they deserve.
What We Can Do To Help
Many times, if a child is brought in early enough, we can tackle some or all of their developmental issues before determining if braces are needed. Before the application of braces, we like to use what we call Phase I treatment. Phase I treatment can consist of a variety of dentofacial orthopedic therapies in order to guide the growth of your child’s jaw. This can solve some bite issues, spatial issues, and more. To learn more about dentofacial orthopedics, please visit our page here.
Space maintainers are a huge part of how we can help children before they reach Phase II treatment. Sometimes, Phase II treatment (braces) isn’t even necessary if Phase I treatment has been efficient. Space maintainers are used when a baby tooth is lost prematurely. The space maintainer holds the space open where the tooth was until the permanent tooth is ready to emerge. This can help to prevent orthodontic problems and can even prevent the need for braces altogether. However, the type of treatment required in both Phase I and Phase II are entirely determined by your child’s specific situation.
Make An Appointment
Prevention can be key to helping your child achieve the healthy and beautiful smile they deserve. To schedule your free consultation, please call our office at (561) 391-6415 or send us a message using our online form. Let us help your child get the results he or she needs.
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