For more than 60 years, Hamer & Glassick Orthodontics has been creating beautiful smiles for families in the Charlottesville and Crozet communities. In fact, we’ve straightened more smiles than anyone else in the area! Our expert team has worked with patients of all ages, including teens, adults, and even young children.
Since many people associate orthodontics with teens, it may surprise you to learn that the American Association of Orthodontists recommends every child has an orthodontic evaluation by the time they’re seven years old. However, these early evaluations are an important orthodontic tool that allows us to identify and correct a child’s issues before they develop into something more serious. We’re big fans of this preventative approach, since it sets children up for a lifetime of healthy and happy smiles!
When you schedule your child’s initial visit with us, they’ll receive a complimentary consultation that includes an assessment of their oral health and development. Our doctors will be looking for anything out of the ordinary that may warrant further attention, whether now or at some point in the future. If they detect any possible issues between the ages of 6-9, we may recommend interceptive orthodontics.
What is interceptive orthodontics?
Interceptive orthodontics, also known as Phase I orthodontics, is used to begin the right treatment for a young patient at the most optimal time. This proactive approach helps create space for the proper development and eruption of their permanent teeth. It can also enhance the growth of a child’s jaw. This often results in straighter teeth, better oral health overall, and a more symmetrical smile!
Who would benefit from interceptive orthodontics?
During your child’s first visit with us, Dr. Hamer or Dr. Glassick will perform a painless but thorough examination of their teeth and jaws. If they identify any of the following issues, interceptive orthodontics may be recommended.
- Your child appears to be prone to a problem we want to prevent.
- Your child already has a developing problem that we now want to intercept.
- Your child’s jawbones may need some guidance as they grow.
There are many underlying causes for orthodontic issues. Several of these issues are genetic, including gapped teeth, extra or missing teeth, and other irregularities. Others may be acquired through injury, premature tooth loss, or harmful oral habits. Some developmental issues can correct themselves as a child grows, while others will require immediate intervention. Whatever the root of your child’s issues, a bad bite can affect how their smile looks, feels, and functions. Fortunately, interceptive orthodontics allows us to successfully address all of these concerns!
What are some examples of interceptive orthodontics?
You may be worried that an early orthodontic evaluation will lead to immediate treatment for your child. This is a common concern among parents, but we only recommend this for a small percentage of the young children we see. Even if we do recommend treatment for your child, it won’t necessarily mean putting braces on them right away—many effective Phase I treatments don’t use any brackets or wires at all! These will often include:
- removing one or more of the primary teeth to guide the proper placement of the permanent teeth
- using expanders to widen the upper jaw and provide space for very crowded teeth
- placing teeth spacers to save a spot for permanent teeth if a primary tooth has been lost early due to injury or decay
Here at Hamer & Glassick Orthodontics, we know the importance of following a child’s typical dental growth and development patterns. This means we can treat many common orthodontic problems in a child whose mouth is still developing with relative ease. That same treatment often becomes more complex and invasive once their jawbones stop growing, which generally occurs around 16-18 years old.
Interceptive orthodontics also helps us achieve lasting results for many of the issues we’ve discussed here and can lessen the impact of others. However, it should be noted that most patients will still require a second phase of treatment with braces or aligners. This rounds out the treatment process and gives them a beautifully aligned smile they’ll love!
Keeping an eye on your child’s smile as they grow
You’re probably already aware that regular dental visits are vital to keeping your child’s smile healthy. But did you know that regular orthodontic visits can be an essential tool for oral health, too? Even if no problems are found during your child’s initial evaluation with us, we recommend follow-up visits with our doctors as they grow. Here are just some of the benefits of regular orthodontic assessments over the years!
- Detect any hidden dental problems
- Reduce the need for jaw surgery later in life
- Guide emerging adult teeth into the ideal positions
- Reduce the risk of impacted teeth
- Reduce the risk of needing tooth extractions in the future
Give your child’s smile the best start with Hamer & Glassick Orthodontics
While early treatment isn’t necessary for all children, it can be hugely beneficial to those who do need it! With our help, you can tackle your child’s orthodontic issues early on. This will help prevent more severe problems later on, saving you time and money and giving your child’s smile the best possible start. What’s not to love?!
With careful planning from our expert team, interceptive orthodontics can help improve the alignment between your child’s teeth and jaw. Phase I treatment can also restore the most optimal tooth and bite function, resulting in more stable results and increased self-confidence.
Is your young child ready for their first orthodontic evaluation? We’d love to meet you both! Get in touch today to schedule a FREE consultation with us and help your child take the first step towards a lifetime of healthy smiles.