At Inspire Dental Wellness, we believe in early functional orthodontics to treat a wide range of conditions in our younger patients. We have seen first-hand how early treatment (also referred to as “Phase I” orthodontic treatment or “interceptive” treatment) can address jaw issues in young children. We’ve also seen how the benefits can carry over once their permanent teeth start coming in.
In this blog post, we’ll discuss some of the benefits that come with functional orthodontics in young children.
Why Start So Young?
Phase I orthodontics are performed on children whose adult teeth have not yet erupted. As you may know, the American Association of Orthodontists recommends that your child have their first orthodontic examination as early as age seven. Yes, that’s young. But, if there are any issues, we can catch them early and recommend a functional orthodontic treatment.
Some parents have hesitations about this, especially if their child still has most of their baby teeth. However, when we catch issues like extreme dental crowding, asymmetrical jaw growth, or protruding front teeth early, we have a much better chance of correcting them before they become a more serious issue. Not only that, the treatment is almost always less invasive and less painful for patients when they’re younger versus when they’re older. That’s a win for everyone!
How Functional Orthodontics Can Benefit Children
There are many ways early orthodontic treatment can benefit your child if done when they’re still quite young. We can’t get into all the benefits here, but we’ll go over some of the major ones:
HEALTHY JAW JOINTS – When we see children with narrow jaws, deep overbites, or receding lower jaws, we know that they have unhealthy jaw joints. If left untreated, this can lead to issues like neck pain, ear aches, locking jaw, dizziness, facial pain, and more. Phase I orthodontics can address this issue in younger patients quite easily, much more easily than if their jaw has had more time to develop.
CROWDING & ALIGNMENT – If we catch crowding and alignment issues early, there’s a good chance your child’s adult teeth will come in straighter, too. In this case, early orthodontic treatment can drastically reduce the duration that braces are needed down the road or even eliminate the need for them altogether.
BREATHING & SPEECH – Does your child breath through their mouth? Do they have noticeable speech impediments? If so, it’s important to correct the issue as soon as possible before they have long-term effects. For example, mouth breathing can lead to chronic bad breath and gum disease. Speech issues that aren’t attended to at a young age can require extensive speech therapy later in life to correct. Functional orthodontics can often address the underlying cause of these issues.
Do you have questions about functional orthodontics? At Inspire Dental Wellness, we’re always happy to answer any questions you may have. Give us a call at 708-518-3749.