We have many years of experience in dealing with every sort of tooth and dental development issue, and are very willing to help you make an informed decision about the treatment choices for your child. Like many procedures, the effectiveness of early treatment can only be determined on an individual basis. Here, we explain our viewpoint on early treatment options.
What is early treatment?
The terms ‘early treatment,’ ‘interceptive treatment,’ or ‘phase I treatment’ are all basically the same thing. This form of treatment is usually done when the child is 8 to 10 years old and will have 8-12 baby teeth present in the mouth.
Phase II treatment consists of fixed appliances (metal braces) and is usually done when the patient is older and all the baby teeth are gone and the permanent teeth are in the mouth. For girls, this is about 11 ½ years old and for boys about 12 ½ years of age on the average.
Are there drawbacks to early treatment?
Early treatment is great when it is indicated and appropriate. Dental problems such as crowding or crossbites are usually corrected best through early treatment at age 9 or 10. A second stage of treatment with braces will usually be required at age 11 ½ for girls, and at age 12 ½ for boys to finish aligning the teeth.
However, what we discovered was that it was still taking about 20 months of the metal braces to finish aligning the teeth at age 12 to 13. So, we could do two phases of treatment, taking 28-32 months, or we could be a little patient and do all the treatment in one step, taking about 24 months in the metal braces.
Which was the better way? Well, by just doing one phase of treatment, the parents saved money, the child had fewer hoops to jump through, and the results were basically the same.
When do we recommend early treatment?
We love to see the kids about age 9 or 10 years old, or even younger if mom and dad have a concern about their child’s teeth. It is much rather be ahead of the game than behind. Sometimes we will turn the patient loose for a little while, and then when he/she is ready, start the correct early treatment.
And of course, there are instances where treating the patient at 9 or 10 works out great! If all the upper teeth are too narrow (called a crossbite), 9 or 10 is a great time to correct this. Sometimes a front tooth is stuck and won’t come down, or is sticking straight out – 9 or 10 is a great time to correct this.
We firmly believe in early treatment. It just needs to be used when it is truly indicated. Call now to schedule a consultation to discuss treatment options and see what financing plans you qualify for.