Orthodontists specialize in treatments to prevent or reduce the severity of developing malocclusions by maintaining the quality of an otherwise healthy developing oral structure. When an issue is noticed earlier, treatment can be shorter and less expensive compared to future developments that are left untreated.
Common preventative treatments include:
Primary teeth assist in guiding permanent teeth into position. When lost early due to accidents or dental disease, a space maintainer may be required. If the space is not maintained, other neighboring teeth may shift and drift into their place, preventing the permanent tooth from erupting or causing crowding and/or misalignment when it does.
A space maintainer is an orthodontic appliance that keeps the space open so that the permanent tooth can erupt into its natural position. It is a simple device that can save your child many months of future orthodontic treatment.
Expansion is a process of widening the upper jaw and is usually begun during the early adolescent years to utilize a child’s natural growth. Broadening the upper jaw can correct cross-bites (when the teeth don’t line up properly), relieve some degree of dental crowding, and counteract some of the effects of a thumbsucking habit. Palatal expansion has also been shown to improve airway quality.
Crowding may be prevented or reduced if treatment begins while the permanent front teeth are erupting (around six years of age). This can be done by creating more space for the teeth and allowing natural alignment to occur. Ask our doctors about a space analysis to find out if this is a preventative option for your child.
Occasionally a primary tooth does not fall out when it supposed to or simply does not fall out on it’s own at all. In these cases, the permanent tooth can grow in the wrong location because it does the primary tooth has not been pushed out of the space. If this is the case, then it may be necessary to extract the primary tooth to allow the proper eruption and spacing location of the permanent tooth.
Extensive thumb sucking can cause the upper teeth or jaw to tip forward and can result in a serious overbite that requires extensive orthodontic treatment. With the use of a dental appliance that discourages thumb sucking, future costly orthodontic treatment may be prevented.
Headgear is a preventive option used to correct the way the upper and lower molars fit with each other. It can also be used to create additional space for permanent teeth alignment. Headgear is primarily worn in the home and at night during sleep.
If you live in or around Fresno and are considering preventive orthodontic treatment, call us today!