Did you know early orthodontic treatment can benefit children from having to wear extensive braces during their teen years? Dr. Estep has undergone specialized training to use early intervention orthodontics in children. This treatment uses functional appliances to idealize children’s growth patterns in their jaws, teeth and face. Dr. Estep can evaluate your children as young as four or five years old to determine if they will benefit from this minimally-invasive treatment.
If you or someone you know had long-term braces in teen years, you already understand the many benefits to avoiding this long-term braces treatment. Besides the discomfort of braces, the teen years can be an especially emotionally-sensitive time to be self-conscious about your smile. Even without braces, getting your teen to smile may already be a hassle!
Beyond smile confidence, spending a long time in braces can result in white spots or even damage to the teeth. Oral hygiene is not easy with all of the braces hardware covering the teeth. If your teen is unable to have impeccable oral hygiene while in braces, the teeth will be permanently affected by the lack of hygiene. Imagine the long-awaited day the braces finally come off the newly straightened teeth, only to find the teeth have ugly white and brown marks all over them! To say this is an unhappy moment for the teen, parents and dentist is a serious understatement.
There are more benefits to early intervention orthodontics. Airway is a current hot topic in children’s’ health. Recent science shows that a large number of American children have airway issues that may lead to serious health and behavioral issues. Some of these airway issues can be alleviated by expanding the child’s palate using a functional appliance that makes room for the tongue. This simple procedure can have immediate and lifelong positive health and behavioral benefits. Early intervention orthodontics has been recently shown to be a successful alternative to medications for behavior conditions like ADD or ADHD.
Kids with airway issues can’t tell you they have an airway issue, but they may snore or struggle to breathe while sleeping, or battle with asthma, stuffy nose and other symptoms. These kids breathe through their mouths constantly because their airway is too constricted to breathe through their nose. This may be caused by a narrow palate, enlarged adenoids or tonsils, a constricted nasal passage or a combination of conditions. If your child has any of these symptoms or suffers from behavioral conditions, Dr. Estep recommends scheduling your child a consultation visit. At this visit, Dr. Estep will take measurements and digital images for an airway evaluation.
Children’s Orthodontic Evaluation
At Intown Smile Studio, we evaluate children as young as three to four years old to determine their tooth and jaw development, evaluate the airway, and assess whether they will need orthodontic treatment. Her evaluation includes:
- Dental arch size
- Skeletal jaw development
- Dental function and bite
- Airway evaluation
- Tooth development
- Dental habits
If no early orthodontic intervention is necessary, Dr. Estep will continue to evaluate your child every six months to assess growth and development. If you have questions, you can request an appointment and one of our team members will call you to answer any questions you have.