Early Orthodontic Intervention

We are passionate about early invention orthodontics! What is early invention orthodontics, and why do we feel it’s necessary?

Early intervention orthodontics is just what it sounds like: intervening early (ages 6-10) on patients when we see abnormal teeth, jaw, and facial development. It typically refers to a series of removable oral appliances that help expand the dental arches to allow a better functional and esthetic end result for the patient. The TIMING of the appliances is critical: we evaluate and fit patients for appliances while the patient is still growing. This allows us to DIRECT GROWTH rather than waiting until all the permanent teeth erupt before straightening them, like in traditional orthodontics. Most teenagers and adults with malocclusions or bad bites and crooked teeth actually need MORE space in their mouth with expansion, but expansion is limited or impossible after the patient has stopped growing. Traditional orthodontists usually overcome this limitation by extracting permanent teeth on teenagers and adults, making the teeth straight but the dental arches even smaller! The most beautiful smiles are wide and big with space for all the teeth. The mid-face and jaw grow in response to the appliances and the entire face depends on this growth. Oftentimes when we expand the arches with appliances, it helps the permanent teeth erupt into the mouth straighter, mitigating or sometimes eliminating the need for metal braces altogether! Our goal is to help all our patients achieve their best smile and the best functional and esthetic outcomes.

This is one of the most important services we can provide for our patients. We can literally change the shape of their face and jaw, as well as their smile, by intervening early. Expansion of the arches has also been shown to reduce the incidence of sleep and breathing issues like sleep apnea as an adult. It can potentially prevent the onset of sinus problems, facial pain from grinding and clenching, and headaches, or decrease their severity. The growth of the face is critical for esthetics as well, and subtle changes can make a huge difference in a person’s life. We can help diagnose and treat these facial development problems before they become permanent.

We evaluate every single young patient in our practice to see how their teeth are erupting, how their dental arches are developing, and for any sleep and breathing issues they may have, and will recommend treatment accordingly. Please bring your child in for a consult if you feel they have any issues starting! Some common things to watch out for that put your child at risk for facial development problems are as follows:

  • Prolonged thumb-sucking, bottle Feeding, or pacifier use
  • Snoring, grinding, or sleep problems
  • Overbites, underbites, or cross-bites
  • Family history of crooked teeth and bad bites or small jaws