Proactively making a difference in your child’s life.
Early treatment, or what Dr. Ben Smith calls “pre-orthodontic guidance,” means treatment that is performed while some baby teeth are still present.
The American Association of Orthodontists (AAO) recommends that your child’s first check-up be performed when an orthodontic problem is first recognized, around age seven or eight.
Why so early? At this point, your child has enough permanent teeth for Dr. Smith to evaluate the developing teeth and jaw, which in turn, can provide a wealth of information. Our orthodontist in North Attleboro, MA, is trained to spot subtle problems even in young children.
There are generally three outcomes of an initial check-up:
While most orthodontic problems are best treated after all permanent teeth have come in, early treatment can be in a patient’s best interest if their problem is one that could become more serious over time if left untreated.
Many misalignment problems in children can be prevented or minimized through early intervention at North Attleboro Orthodontics. We do this in three ways.
The goal of pre-orthodontic guidance is to intercept the developing problem, eliminate the cause, guide the growth of facial and jaw bones, and provide adequate space for incoming permanent teeth. In most instances, the patient will require a second course of treatment once all permanent teeth erupt.
The small handful of problems Dr. Smith may recommend treating while a child still has some baby teeth include:
Underbites (when the lower front teeth are ahead of the upper front teeth)
Crossbites (when the jaw shifts to one side)
Very crowded teeth
Excessively spaced teeth
Teeth that meet abnormally or don’t meet at all
Thumb-sucking or pacifier-sucking that is affecting the teeth or jaw growth
Some of these orthodontic problems are inherited, while others may result from accidents, dental disease, or airway obstruction.
Whether treatment has been taken or not, Dr. Smith will continue to monitor any concerns or potential risks. As your child grows, he may recommend interceptive care or plan for future orthodontic treatment.
Regardless, your family is not alone. We partner with you during your child’s development so we can make any adjustments when needed.
- Elizabeth E.
There’s no need to feel apprehensive about bringing your child to our orthodontic office. Dr. Smith and our team of specialists have years of experience working with kids, and we’ll teach you about your child’s best options for early orthodontic treatment if necessary. These may include a short course of braces, a motion 3D appliance, expansion appliances, or removal of some baby teeth to help with permanent tooth eruption.
Waiting until all permanent teeth come in or until facial growth is nearly complete may make some corrections more difficult. That’s why we time extractions carefully to take the best advantage of a child’s growth and development. Regardless of how we reach treatment goals, the bottom line is that some orthodontic problems are much easier to correct if found and treated early.