The earlier the better
‘Early interceptive treatment’ or ‘First phase treatment’ are terms we use to describe treatment of children mainly under 10 years old.
This early treatment is very important because children are still growing, giving us the opportunity to correct problems very early as they start to develop. This treatment aims to guide dental development and facilitate healthy facial growth. Its advantages include:
- Avoiding long and complex orthodontic treatment later on in life
- Creating room or preserving space for crowded teeth
- Reducing the need for removal of adult teeth later on
- Shortening treatment time with braces if needed later on
- Avoiding possible dental surgery if teeth fail to grow and get stuck inside the jaw bone
- Reducing the risk of trauma of protruding (sticking forward) front teeth
- Correcting undersized or oversized jaws or asymmetrical jaw growth
We strongly recommend that a child's first orthodontic visit takes place at age 7-9 if any signs of teeth irregularity are detected. We have many years of experience in providing orthodontic treatment for growing children and dealing with problems such as thumb / finger sucking and mouth breathing which if left unattended, will have a negative effect on facial growth and dental development. Second phase treatment may still be needed in some cases later on at approximately age 12.
Having straight teeth and a beautiful smile will also boost the confidence of your child and avoid unnecessary teasing at school in some cases, in a stage of their life where their personality is developing every day.
Learn more about the reasons and benefits of Orthodontics
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These are the most common signs that should alarm parents to seek an orthodontic consultation for their child as early as 7-9 years of age:
- Overlapping or crowded teeth
- Big gaps between the teeth
- Early or late loss of baby teeth, including removal of baby teeth by the dentist
- Missing or extra teeth
- Protruding teeth (top or bottom jaw too far forward)
- Top and bottom teeth not meeting at the front (Openbite)
- Teeth crossing at the front or back when biting (Crossbite)
- Top teeth covering completely the bottom teeth (Overbite, Deep bite)
- Biting of the cheek or roof of the mouth
- Difficulty in chewing or biting
- Thumb / finger sucking or pacifier habits beyond the age of 6
- Mouth breathing or snoring at night
- Speech difficulty
- Grinding or clenching of teeth
- Jaw noises such as clicking that are causing discomfort
- Signs of enamel wear
The good news is that many children are now eager to wear braces as they have become something of a fashion statement. This allows us to offer children the best orthodontic treatment to give them straight teeth and a great smile to face the future with confidence and freedom.
- Removable braces
- Removable functional braces
- Fixed functional braces
- Partial fixed braces
- Habit breaker
- Space maintainer
These braces are custom-made by a skilled technician from plastic (acrylic) and are barely visible when worn. They carry wire clips and springs to clip to the teeth and get support from the roof of the mouth in some cases. They are designed for a specific purpose such as moving a tooth or a group of teeth, or expanding (widening) a narrow top jaw to make space for the teeth to grow. Children can choose from a variety of colours for their removable braces. Typically these braces are removed for cleaning and playing sports and for eating in some cases.
These are custom-made removable braces fabricated by a skilled technician from plastic (acrylic). The most popular one in the UK, the Twin Block, comes in pairs, one to wear over the top teeth and one over the bottom teeth. These are used to correct teeth that stick out, to close a big gap between the top and bottom teeth and to improve your child’s profile by encouraging the forward growth of an "under-developed" bottom jaw. They can avoid the need to remove adult teeth at a later stage and are suitable for anyone who is still growing. These are typically removed for eating, cleaning and playing sports and come in a variety of colours.
These modern top quality devices are used for children and adults alike mainly as part of a fixed brace treatment. They are used to correct the disharmony between the top and bottom teeth and jaws. They can be a more effective alternative to removable functional braces or to the removal of adult teeth in the correction of some bite problems.
We chose the 3M FORSUS Fatigue Resistant device which is fixed over the top and bottom teeth and works comfortably, consistently and around the clock. Traditionally, headgear was used to achieve the same type of correction, but these modern devices give the extra treatment power that is needed when braces alone cannot align the jaws or teeth, without the hassle of headgear.
Sometimes the best option is to use fixed ‘train-track’ braces mostly on the front teeth (Partial fixed braces) to align them or correct the bite problem. These can be used in specific cases in young children even when they still have baby teeth in their mouth. We find that our Fast Track option is the most popular one for children, other crystal clear braces can be used but are more popular for teenagers and adults.
Other fixed braces we use are expanders, such as ‘Rapid palatal expanders’, used to expand or widen the roof of the mouth to create space for crowded teeth or to improve the bite.
A device which is used to stop thumb sucking or tongue thrusting habits. It is fixed behind the front teeth for a period of one or a few months, to prevent or interrupt thumb sucking. It is not used in all cases of thumb sucking and our clinician will advice you on the best treatment for this habit.
Read more about Thumb sucking.
Sometimes a baby tooth may have to be extracted due to decay or other causes much before the adult tooth is ready to replace it. In such cases the early loss of the baby tooth may cause the neighbouring teeth to move into the space and close it, thus prevent the underlying adult tooth from growing into its natural correct position. To avoid this, a device called ‘Space maintainer’ is used to hold (anchor) the teeth adjacent to the space until the adult tooth that replaces the baby tooth is ready to grow. This simple device can prevent a child from having a lengthy and complex course of orthodontic treatment later on which may require the removal of adult teeth, or surgical removal of the adult tooth that got stuck in the jaw bone due to lack of space.
Contact us now to book an orthodontic consultation with our clinician.
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