This may seem early, but it’s the perfect time to identify any developing issues and act. During your child’s assessment, specialist orthodontist Dr. Jackie Bracken will gently examine their teeth and jaws to see if they could benefit from braces now or in the future.
Sometimes, we recommend early orthodontic treatment to correct bite problems and create space for permanent teeth.
Could your child benefit from early orthodontic treatment?
During your child’s check-ups, your dentist will look for signs that they could benefit from a referral to a specialist orthodontist. These include:
- Habits like thumb sucking after the age of four
- Teeth that don’t bite together correctly
- Difficulties chewing or biting
- Early or late loss of baby teeth
- Crowded front teeth
- Protruding teeth
If you are concerned about your child’s development, you can arrange a consultation with a specialist orthodontist at any time. You don’t need a referral from your dentist.
If your child doesn’t need braces now, we can arrange a review in the future and start their orthodontic treatment at the optimum time.
The advantages of early orthodontic treatment
Most children undergo orthodontic treatment when they’re a bit older, but early intervention can be invaluable for some.
If we start treatment while your child is still growing, we can guide the growth of their jaws and avoid more invasive options like jaw surgery. We can also influence the width of your child’s jaws and steer erupting adult teeth into the correct position.
Improving the position of your child’s teeth and jaws can bring many personal and practical benefits:
- Improved appearance and self-esteem
- Less risk of damage to protruding teeth
- Improved function, for example, when chewing
- Shorter or less complex phase two treatment
- Reduced risk of impacted teeth
Phase one treatment options
Early orthodontic treatment uses functional appliances to align your teeth and jaws. These removable braces can achieve amazing things in a relatively short space of time.
Twin block braces
Twin block braces position the lower jaw forward to improve your child’s profile and the way their teeth bite together. They can provide a welcome alternative to tooth extractions and headgear.
The Hyrax appliance
We use the Hyrax appliance to widen the upper jaw and correct misaligned bites. It creates space for us to straighten crowded teeth and achieve a beautiful, broader smile.
Invisalign is a popular treatment for adults and teens, so we were delighted when they introduced Invisalign First for our youngest patients. Invisalign First uses clear aligners to guide growing jaws and create space for emerging teeth. Just like the adult and teen versions, it’s virtually invisible and offers excellent precision.
Phase two orthodontic treatment
Treatment with functional appliances is usually followed by phase two treatment with fixed braces or clear aligners. Wearing functional appliances first can reduce the time your child will need to wear conventional braces.
When your child’s transformation is complete, we’ll fit retainers to maintain their smile. Retainers need to be worn indefinitely to prevent orthodontic relapse. Thankfully, they’re very unobtrusive and will quickly become part of your daily routine.
If you have any questions about early orthodontic treatment, or you’d like to arrange a consultation with Dr. Jackie Bracken, don’t hesitate to contact us.