Interceptive Orthodontics

Dr. Kelly Jobe | Pediatric Dentist | St. Louis, MO

Interceptive Orthodontics

In some cases during your child’s regular checkup, a pediatric dentist might recommend an orthodontic treatment while your child still has their baby teeth. This is called interceptive orthodontic treatment, or early orthodontic treatment.

This treatment uses various dental appliances to prevent any future issues – such as overcrowding, crooked teeth or teeth that don’t emerge in the right sequence. This is accomplished by moving teeth, holding teeth in place or changing the position of the jaw.

“Interceptive treatment” might sound intimidating, but it’s really not! The appliances used in interceptive treatment are incredibly easy to use, and can decrease the length or even prevent more intensive orthodontic treatments down the road. They also create a more attractive smile, giving your child more confidence.

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When to get an orthodontic consultation

It is recommended that your child get their first orthodontic consultation before the age of 7. Their adult molars usually start coming in at age 6, so by this time we can start assessing any issues with their jaw, teeth and airways. This will give us plenty of time to catch problems early, and recommend proper treatment.

Early orthodontic consultations are also important because it is much easier to stop future dental problems when your child’s face and jaw are still growing. Once they stop growing, it’s much more difficult to correct any issues because mouth structures aren’t as flexible. 

However, if your child is experiencing early symptoms of orthodontic problems, you should go ahead and schedule an exam even if your child is much younger than 7.

Some symptoms of early orthodontic problems include:

  • Early or late loss of baby teeth
  • Trouble chewing or biting
  • Mouth breathing
  • Thumbsucking or other poor oral habits
  • Crowded or misplaced teeth
  • Jaws that make sounds, shift, protrude or are recessed
  • Difficulty speaking
  • Cheek biting or biting into the roof of the mouth
  • Protruding teeth
  • Teeth that fail to meet normally or at all
  • Facial imbalance or asymmetry
  • Teeth grinding or clenching

Some tooth development problems can happen on their own, but sometimes they can be caused by habits like thumbsucking and tongue pushing. These issues can be fixed with appliances like partial braces and retainers. 

In some cases, the jaw might need to be widened so adult teeth can come in correctly. Then, an appliance called a palatal expander can be used to gently widen the jaw.

Questions for Dr. Jobe or the Kids Smiles Pediatric Dentistry team?

Dr. Kelly Jobe and the team at Kids Smiles Pediatric Dentistry are committed to providing the best pediatric dental care in the greater St. Louis, MO area! Please contact us with any questions regarding your kid’s dental health, we are here to help!

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