Early Treatment

Early Interceptive Treatment: It’s Simply About Being Ready

Identifying that there may be a problem early on is very helpful as far as the growth and development of a patient’s teeth and jaws is concerned. Your child will have a mix of both baby and adult teeth which may be advantageous for potential orthodontic treatment. Dr Yap and Dr Skilton recommend that 8 years old is the best time for an orthodontic assessment if you are concerned about your child’s jaw and dental development. Every child is different, and for some, Early Interceptive Treatment is indicated.

Having seen its benefits, both Dr Skilton and Dr Yap are advocates of Early Interceptive Treatment, and will advise parents on the best time in which to commence treatment. If treatment is not yet ready to start, we will continue to review your child on a regular basis. These recall appointments are complimentary, but important to ensure the correct timing for orthodontic treatment in the future.

Growth of your jaws is an important consideration during your orthodontic treatment.  Much of your jaw growth is genetically determined, just like the colour of your eyes, or how tall you grow.  Functional appliances are a form of removable appliances or plates that may be required in growing children if the lower jaw is not growing as fast as the upper jaw.

Functional appliances aim to restrict the forward growth of the upper jaw, and can move the lower teeth forwards and the upper teeth back.  Specific patient selection criteria must be met in order for functional appliances to be used successfully.  Some important criteria that Dr. Skilton and Dr. Yap consider include i) the timing of treatment as it relates to your pubertal growth status, ii) the number of permanent (adult) and deciduous (baby) teeth in your mouth, iii) the presence of a history of jaw discrepancies in your family and iv) your motivation and compliance in wearing the appliance appropriately.

Functional appliances are designed to alter the arrangement of various muscle groups (such as forces from the tongue, lips, and cheeks) that influence the function and position of your jaws and teeth.  Most importantly, functional appliances require growth for their success.  Consequently, the more growth you experience during treatment, the greater the likelihood of success.

What are some examples of different Early Interceptive Treatments?

Treatments may include:

  • Correction of a crossbite
  • Airway management
  • Correction of an under bite
  • Correction of protruded teeth
  • Correction and resolution of thumb-sucking
  • Creating space for permanent teeth to erupt
  • Dental arch development

What are some of the benefits of Early Interceptive Treatment?

  • Early diagnosis and treatment may correct a malocclusion, preventing further significant treatment when the patient is older.
  • Early airway management may have a myriad of benefits, such as improved sleep, behaviour and concentration.
  • Early treatment may promote improved oral hygiene and dental health.
  • Treatment when a child is still developing may simplify any treatment required in the future.
  • Early treatment may also remove the need for the extractions of permanent teeth in the future.
  • Minor speech problems may also be resolved with Early Interceptive Treatment.
  • Habits, such as thumb-sucking or a tongue thrust may be corrected with early treatment.
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