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Orthodontic treatment has always been a matter of ideal timing. Issues such as jaw growth, malocclusions, and baby teeth removal require a visit to the dentist in the nick of time, which, the more you delay, the harder it will become to correct them. No wonder millions of American tweens and teens wear various appliances (e.g., braces and aligners) to correct their orthodontic problems from the get-go! 

The modern age is all about catching the culprits upsetting your healthy smile from a young age with the best early treatment plan available. No wonder why Loudoun Orthodontics offers an early orthodontic treatment option ideal for children and teenagers alike: interceptive orthodontic treatment! Time for your kid to say goodbye to their dental problems and welcome their sparkling permanent teeth!

What is an Interceptive Orthodontic Treatment?

Known also as early orthodontic treatment, interceptive orthodontics deal with the various problems a child or teenager might face before the permanent teeth erupt. They are designed to identify and treat orthodontic issues, as well as extract baby teeth to make room for the child’s permanent teeth. The childhood years are the optimal age for undergoing such treatment (i.e., while the facial and jaw growth is still in progress). A prompt response to oral health hazards will solve them right off the bat before the treatment options become fewer in number and more expensive!

Why is the Age of 7 the Right Moment for Interceptive Orthodontic Treatment?

By the time your kid turns 7, their first adult molars will have already erupted to establish the back bite. This is the perfect opportunity for Dr. Lee to conduct your child’s first orthodontic evaluation and learn all about the relationships between front and back teeth, as well as top and bottom teeth. Furthermore, he will notice and interpret the signs of how your kid’s future teeth will grow. For example, the sight of erupting incisors indicates potential overbite, open bite, crowded teeth, and gummy smiles. Dr. Lee will ensure that your child’s incoming permanent teeth will radiate confidence and beauty, one orthodontic issue at a time.

Does My Child Need Interceptive Orthodontics?

Whether your child or teenager could use an early orthodontic treatment or not depends especially on their first orthodontic evaluation. Once again, it’s all about reading the appropriate signs. That’s why Dr. Lee will perform a thorough check on your kid’s oral cavity; signs such as improper jaw development are a surefire sign that an interceptive treatment is in order. Such is the case of 15-20% of children, who need help in order to ensure proper tooth development. Your child deserves a radiant, gleaming smile, but oral health always precedes aesthetics!

Other telltale signs that call for early treatment include:

  1. Protruding teeth increase your child’s risk of injury;
  2. Early loss of baby teeth can prompt the surrounding teeth to occupy the vacant space and prevent the permanent teeth from erupting.
  3. Crowded teeth prevent permanent teeth from properly erupting (a permanent tooth occupies more space than a baby one).
  4. Biting issues (e.g., anterior crossbite, posterior crossbite, etc.) caused by finger-sucking habits.

The Different Types of Interceptive Orthodontics

Once he identifies the culprits behind your kid’s improper oral health, Dr. Lee will recommend and implement the optimal orthodontic treatment for the issue in question.

#1: Palatal Expanders for Proper Jaw Growth

The most common orthodontic appliance used during early treatments is a palatal expander. Unfortunately, some children do not have enough space for their upper teeth to erupt. Unless promptly treated, a narrow upper palate will lead to overcrowded teeth and, of course, various other orthodontic problems.

What your kid needs is a palatal expander, an orthodontic appliance that widens the upper palate before the upper jaw bones become fused together (i.e., after the onset of puberty). This device — made of two sides connected with a screw — slightly pushes the jaw bones apart, just enough for the permanent teeth to erupt with ease. In the meantime, new bone cells fill in the gap to facilitate the expansion with minimal discomfort.

Your child will wear the palatal expander for 6-12 months, after which Dr. Lee will determine whether they still require tooth extraction or not.

#2: Space Maintainers

Does your kid already have enough space for their permanent teeth to erupt? That’s fantastic! But, just to be sure, they might need a helping hand with preserving that space intact. Enter space maintainers.

Space maintainers are the proper orthodontic appliances for ensuring a healthy space for adult teeth to erupt. Dr. Lee employs a space maintainer once the baby tooth comes out or is removed prematurely to prevent the surrounding teeth from occupying its space. This way, the permanent tooth can safely erupt in its intended place without running the danger of overcrowding!

#3: Malocclusions

As a result of tooth or jaw misalignment, malocclusions amount to one of the main orthodontic issues our young patients experience. Multiple studies suggest that untreated malocclusions eventually lead to various oral health issues, such as crowded teeth, tooth decay, gum disease, protruding teeth, open bites, and crossbites. A malocclusion impacts not only oral aesthetics but also how your child chews their food and cleans their teeth. During the initial orthodontic evaluation, Dr. Lee will focus on symptoms that point toward malocclusion and swiftly implement an orthodontic treatment plan to remedy the issue.

#4: Baby Tooth Extraction

There’s a time and place for baby teeth to fall out, and it’s called ‘the age of 6.’ After all, they only act as placeholders until all the permanent teeth erupt. But what happens if a baby tooth sticks around? Orthodontists agree that the more baby teeth persist, the more they will interfere in permanent teeth eruption, becoming a long-term orthodontic problem, especially for the canines, who are at risk of impaction.

With his extensive expertise, Dr. Lee uses X-ray technology to determine whether your child’s canines will become impacted in the future and suggest tooth removal to avoid this unwanted outcome.

Start Your Child’s Interceptive Orthodontic Treatment at Loudoun Orthodontics!

Contact Loudoun Orthodontics if you think that interceptive orthodontic treatment may be a solution to your child’s dental woes. Whether you want to learn more about the benefits of early orthodontic treatment or simply have questions about the process, use our live chat or call (703) 858-0303 or send us a message through our contact us page to connect with our friendly staff today to book a free consultation! Our office, located at 19465 Deerfield Ave, Suite 304, Leesburg, VA 20176, proudly serves not just Loudoun County but also the Greater Washington DC area. So, if you’re residing in Ashburn, Lansdowne, or Sterling, and are looking for one of the best orthodontists in Virginia, don’t hesitate to visit our office! We also invite you to keep up with our blog to get answers to many of the frequently asked questions about maintaining sparkling oral health, and follow us on social media to become a part of our smiling community!

Loudoun Orthodontics