Early intervention orthodontics
Sometimes, it is necessary to start orthodontics at an early age to help alleviate issues as your child grows. Other times, it would be necessary to wait until your child is older before intervention begins. At FirstBite, we will assess your child every 6 months during their Dental Maintenance visits.
Orthopaedic treatment phases
Phase 1 early interceptive treatment, interceptive orthodontics and preventive orthodontics
This stage usually begins when the child is between 7 and 12 years of age, their growth stage. The main purpose of this stage is to develop the jaw bones to better accommodate the teeth. In most cases this is accomplished with the use of appliances.
Phase 1 early interceptive treatment can help correct:
- Habits such as tongue thrusting and thumb sucking.
- Airway problems and mouth breathing caused by constriction from swollen adenoids or tonsils.
- Bite problems such as deep overbites, narrow arches anterior or posterior crossbite, or open bites.
- Crowded teeth due to narrow arches. By developing the arches at an early age, we may prevent or eliminate the crowding of the permanent teeth.
- Underdeveloped jaws – almost 50% of children who need orthodontic treatment due to a bad bite have underdeveloped lower jaws. The use of headgear appliances can help with underdeveloped upper jaws as well.
- Another common procedure is the expansion of the upper jaw to increase its width.
The orthopaedic stage can take between 9 and 18 months, and will make the 2nd Stage Treatment much easier. In other words, your child will need to wear fixed braces on their adult teeth for less time. Occasionally, after Phase 1 treatment has been completed, no further orthodontic treatment is necessary. Once all adult teeth have erupted, and the child is in their pubescent growth stage, this will be reassessed.
Following the completion of phase 1, a holding period will be necessary to wait for all remaining baby teeth to fall out and the new adult teeth to erupt.
Phase 1 Orthodontic Cases
Case A – severe crowding of teeth and Narrow upper jaw
This 9 year old girl had severe crowding with a narrow upper jaw. An expansion appliance was used to expand the jaw, and this allowed the adult teeth to erupt into a better position. Braces on the upper teeth were placed to get the upper front teeth into a better position during this process.
After expansion and partial braces, you can see the adult teeth have erupted into a much nicer position. Full braces will still be needed to consolidate the bite and make things perfect.
Case B – anterior crossbite and partial braces
This 8 year old boy had an anterior crossbite, where the adult teeth on the upper jaw erupted behind the bottom teeth. This would cause a lot more orthodontic problems for him as he grew up, and would affect the surrounding teeth. Partial braces were placed on the front teeth for 4 months, and the crossbite fixed. Once he is in his teenage years, we will reassess for full braces if he needs it.
Case C – Anterior Crossbite and Braces
This 8 year old girl also had an anterior crossbite, and braces on the top and bottom teeth were needed for a period of 4–6 months to correct the position of her teeth. Once she is in her teenage years, we will review how all her teeth have erupted and reassess for full braces if needed.