In orthodontic care, early prevention isn’t about preventing the need for orthodontic treatment altogether, but preventing potential damage to the permanent teeth due to unfavorable dental or skeletal development. The American Association of Orthodontists recommends that children start seeing their orthodontist around age seven to identify any potential risks to the eruption patterns of their permanent teeth or skeletal discrepancies. Early diagnosis of these conditions can prevent lengthy or complicated orthodontic treatment in adolescence or adulthood.
What is Phase I treatment?
Phase I treatment is better termed, "Interceptive Orthodontic Treatment" as it's intercepting a problem early before it causes a more complex problem in the future. Dr. Olmsted carefully and conservatively considers whether or not your child's condition requires early intervention. If the evidence concludes there is no risk of permanent damage to your child's adult teeth, Dr. Olmsted will recommend waiting for more dental development to occur before initiating treatment. However, if your child is at risk of damage to their permanent teeth, bite, or jaw, Dr. Olmsted will consult with you and your child about treatment solutions to intercept the problem. Some conditions that warrant consideration for Phase I treatment are:
• Severe Crowding
• Oral Habits (such as thumb sucking)
• Asymmetrical Jaw Growth
• Narrow Upper Jaw
• Traumatic Bite
• Severe Overbite
• Impacted Teeth
• Psychological Issues (such as peer teasing due to the appearance of the teeth)
By addressing any of these issues at an early age, the chances for future complications that may result in permanent tooth removal, permanent loss of tooth structure, or jaw surgery can be significantly decreased.
Determining the Need for Early Treatment
If you are still unsure whether or not your child is a candidate for early orthodontic treatment, it's best to schedule an evaluation with an orthodontic specialist no later than age 7. Some early indicators of the potential need for Phase I treatment include:
• Frequent mouth breathing
• Unusually early or late loss of their baby teeth
• Speech problems
• Thumb sucking after age five
• Problems biting or chewing
• Shifting of the jaw when closing their mouth
• Severely crowded teeth
• Lower teeth are in front of the upper teeth
Dr. Olmsted is committed to providing quality dental care to patients in Oak Ridge, Stokesdale, Colfax, Summerfield, Greensboro, High Point, and Kernersville. If you would like a consultation, call us at 336-441-8301.