At Alpers, we put a huge emphasis on preventing irregularities and improper growth. We have seen so many children with underdeveloped faces and crooked teeth. In some cases, this is due to genetics, but we also know improper dental care is a major contributing factor. This is why we take an all-inclusive approach to dental care in our practise. Early orthodontics allows us to focus the growth, development and well-being of our younger patients. We are treating more and more patients as young as four and five years old. If you want to learn more about what we can do for your child, stop by and visit.
Are There Orthodontics for Baby Teeth?
Orthodontic treatment on primary dentition (baby teeth) is fairly rare, and often not necessary. However, children who develop an underbite or other malocclusion due to thumb sucking can greatly benefit from early orthodontics. Early treatments can be active, like correcting a crossbite, or passive, like holding the space if they lose a primary tooth too early. If we do advise treatment, it will be with removable orthodontic plates. After just a few months of treatment, we can correct problems early and provide a full orthodontic assessment around age seven. This is when the upper permanent teeth have come through. By using early orthodontics in certain cases, our main hope is to maintain or provide space for permanent teeth so they grow in straight. This minimises the need for more extensive and painful intervention later. Visit our gallery to see some pictures of our patients and their fantastic results.
Why is Early Orthodontics so Important?
With early intervention, we can reduce your child’s need for fixed braces or jaw surgery in the future. Instead, we focus on proper growth and development, straightening teeth and training facial muscles before permanent teeth are set. Another goal at Alpers is non-extraction orthodontics. We want to bring balance and facial symmetry to your child’s smile and face — helping them look and feel their best.
How Soon Do I Need to Bring My Child In?
The New Zealand Association of Orthodontists (NZAO) recommends children visit an orthodontist no later than age nine for an evaluation. At this age, they should have a mix of both primary and permanent teeth. During this early assessment, Alpers’ specialists look for signs of developmental problems and establish a plan for timely intervention if necessary.
What Does an Early Orthodontic Assessment Entail?
Your child’s first orthodontic evaluation includes a thorough examination of your child’s teeth, jaw and facial structures as well as X-ray. Even at age six and seven these assessments and images could reveal developing problems with alignment and growth.
How you tell if your child might need early orthodontics:
- Early or late loss of primary teeth (should normally lose teeth around age six and have all permanent teeth in around age 13)
- Prolonged thumb or finger sucking (beyond age 5)
- Mouth breathing
- Narrow upper dental arch
- Speech impediments
- Very crowded or spaced teeth
- Protruding teeth
- Teeth that don’t fit together properly
- Extra teeth
- Impacted teeth
If your child shows early signs of needing orthodontic treatment, please ring us at (09)524-5056.