The field of orthodontics spans beyond corrective treatment. It also includes preventive care, which is used to prevent the development of a bad bite or crooked and overcrowded teeth. This is often referred to as Phase I treatment, Interceptive treatment or Early treatment. This is a limited treatment, often while baby teeth are still present, to correct a developmental issue before it gets worse. In some children who undergo preventive treatment it MAY avoid the need for far more invasive treatments later in life. Once Phase I treatment is complete there is a period of observation until all the adult teeth have erupted. Then many patients have an evaluation for the necessity of Phase II treatment to complete the process.
Did you know…
It is important that your child undergoes an orthodontic screening around the age of 7. Preventive care is only effective when used early – usually while the majority of primary teeth are still intact. Some of the most common preventive orthodontic treatments in include:
- Space maintainers – to hold the space of a primary tooth that has fallen out prematurely
- Headgear – used to reposition the jaw and create space for permanent teeth
- Tooth extractions – used to remove primary teeth that have not fallen out on their own
- Placement of some brackets to correct the position of teeth that are erupting in an unfavorable position
Frequently Asked Questions
Your child may need preventive care if he or she has malocclusion, inadequate jaw space, has teeth erupting in the wrong spaces, or has missing primary teeth lost due to decay or trauma. If you suspect that your child could need preventive orthodontic, schedule a consultation immediately.
Preventive treatment varies from child to child. Some types of preventive appliances are fixed in your child’s mouth, and require multiple visits to ensure a perfect fit. If your child’s appliance is removable, you will be given instructions on how and when your child should wear the device. You can also expect to make occasional orthodontic visits for the duration of your child’s preventive treatment to measure progress and make adjustments as needed.
Yes. In addition to ensuring your child’s appliance is being worn correctly, you’ll need to also prevent your child from consuming foods that could damage the appliance while being worn. If your child’s appliance is removable, you’ll need to clean it regularly and store it according to your orthodontist’s instructions.