Early Treatment

Our team at Gippsland Orthodontics encourage parents to bring their children in for an early assessment to ensure a healthy smile. The Australian Society of Orthodontists and Orthodontics Australia recommend that children be seen by a specialist orthodontist between the ages of 7 to 10 years. During this time, kids will have a mix of baby and adult teeth, and this helps us determine if there are any developing concerns.

Early intervention treatment can play a vital role in childhood development. Therefore, early evaluation is crucial to assist in correcting growth and jaw development, with the potential of reducing more serious orthodontic treatment in the future. Starting this review process between the ages of 7 to 10 years, doesn’t always mean treatment straight away, it means that we are able to diagnose potential problems and recommend the best time to start treatment. In some cases, monitoring and periodic evaluation is most appropriate.

Don’t rely on the untrained eye, it cannot always spot orthodontic issues.

What are some signs that my child may need early orthodontic treatment?

Some signs that your child might need orthodontic treatment may be super easy to spot... other signs may be a little more subtle. Below are some of the signs to look out for:

1. Premature loss of “baby teeth”

Early loss of teeth, either through trauma, decay or poor oral hygiene, may lead to movement of other teeth into the space of the lost tooth. This can then lead to other problems and become a much harder problem to fix.

2. Teeth are crooked

Possibly the easiest problem to spot! If teeth are crooked, angled the wrong way, overlapping or rotated then some intervention may be required.

3. Speech impediment

Difficulty speaking, a lisp or problems with the tongue or lips, may be caused by misaligned jaws or crooked teeth. Sometimes this is corrected by orthodontics, a speech pathologist or a combination of both.

4. Have an overbite, underbite, open bite or crossed bite

These result from a tooth misalignment or a jaw discrepancy. They arise from many situations including habits (including thumb sucking), trauma or genetic factors.

5.Snorer, mouth breather or have sleep apnoea

Kids shouldn’t snore at a young age. Snoring or poor sleep habits may be a sign that orthodontic intervention may be required. In many cases, orthodontic treatment is managed with other team members including ENT (Ear, Nose and Throat) specialist and a Sleep Physician.

If any of these above issues are relevant to your child, please don’t place your child’s orthodontic visit to the back of your to-do list, as your little one’s health and smile is a priority.

What can early orthodontics fix?

Early orthodontic treatment begins while a child’s jaw bones are still soft as the corrective procedures work faster and can be more effective than in teens and adults. Early intervention usually means that later orthodontic treatment will be more straightforward, shorter in duration and less complicated. The benefits of early orthodontics include:

Create room to reduce chances of crowdings

Maintain space to reduce unwanted tooth movement

Address damaging dental habits (thumb/digit or pacifier sucking)

Potential decreased chance of future extractions

Guide adult teeth into alignment

Decrease chances of complicated future treatments

At Gippsland Orthodontics we offer a range of early treatment options to help children achieve their best oral health. We also offer treatments that make sure your child feels as comfortable and happy as possible while visiting us.

What treatment options are available?

After the initial comprehensive assessment with Gippsland Orthodontics, you will likely leave with an idea of what is required – either now, or in the future. This will also include an idea on treatment options, timeframes of treatment and costs. Some treatment options are, but are not limited to the following:

Expansion devices

These devices are used to expand the upper dental arch, creating more room for teeth.

Space maintainers

If a child loses a tooth too early – it is important to continue to maintain the spot for the permanent teeth, which is exactly what a space maintainer does.

Correcting bad habits – including thumb, digit and pacifier habits

The orthodontist can provide treatment to correct bad habits, such as thumb sucking. Thumb sucking is a common occurrence in young children, however if it persists, it can cause a range of dental and mouth issues.

Tooth extraction

May be required to ensure permanent teeth emerge correctly.

Early braces

Sometimes a few braces will be used to correct teeth growing in the wrong direction (for example, impacted molar teeth), overbites and underbites. These are generally on for a short period of time.

So, what’s next?

If you want to learn more about early interceptive orthodontics, or think you are ready to bring your child for their first appointment, then get in contact with the team at Gippsland Orthodontics here.