Early Treatment

When is the best time to begin orthodontics?

Though an orthodontist can enhance a smile at any age, there is an optimal time period to begin treatment. Beginning treatment at the right time ensures the greatest results and the least amount of time and expense. Dr. Bedont and the American Association of Orthodontists recommend that the initial orthodontic evaluation should occur at the first sign of orthodontic problems or no later than age 7. At this early age, orthodontic treatment may not be necessary, but vigilant examination can anticipate the most advantageous time to begin treatment.

What are the benefits of early orthodontic evaluation?

Early evaluation provides both timely detection of problems and greater opportunity for more effective treatment. Prudent intervention can help guide growth and development, preventing more serious problems later. When early orthodontic intervention is not necessary, Dr. Bedont can carefully monitor growth and development and begin treatment when it is ideal.

Why is age 7 considered the optimal time for screening?

By the age of 7, the first adult molars have erupted, establishing the back bite. During this time, we can evaluate front-to-back and side-to-side tooth relationships. Also, adult teeth are in the process of erupting and can be monitored for any potential problems in eruption sequence or timing. Some problems, when detected and corrected early through interceptive care, will allow for normal growth and development and will reduce or eliminate time in orthodontic treatment during adolescence.

Typical signs of the need for an orthodontic exam may include, but are not limited to the early or late loss of teeth, difficulty in chewing, mouth-breathing, finger sucking, crowded teeth, jaw dysfunction, a small or protruding jaw, or misaligned teeth. Other signs of potential orthodontic problems may not be obvious. Our exam is complimentary and is the most sensible means of ensuring proper oral health.

Interceptive Care

Interceptive care refers to orthodontic treatment at an age before all of the permanent teeth have erupted. This typically at occurs between the ages of 7 and 9. We can often correct major problems with occlusion such as crossbites or severe skeletal structural issues, as well as incisor alignment, when they are causing emotional distress at this age. Interceptive care is often called Phase I treatment because early treatment doesn't always eliminate the need for future orthodontic treatment, but can make subsequent treatment (Phase II) shorter and more predictable, ensuring better results.

What are the advantages of interceptive treatment?

Some of the most direct results of interceptive treatment are:

  • Correcting crossbites that could otherwise lead to a damaging bite and/or disruption of normal growth and development
  • Creating facial symmetry through influencing jaw growth
  • Creating room for crowded, erupting teeth
  • Preserving space for unerupted teeth
  • Reducing the need for tooth removal
  • Reducing treatment time in braces