Early Intervention

The American Association of Orthodontists recommends a check-up with an orthodontist no later than age 7. Usually, by this age several permanent teeth have erupted, allowing Dr. Chapman to effectively evaluate potential problems with jaw growth and emerging teeth while some baby teeth are still present In some cases, we may recommend early interceptive treatment – called 'Phase One' treatment.

Addressing orthodontic issues while your child's bones are growing gives us the ability to: Take the least invasive approach to everything from making room for permanent teeth to advancing and/or expanding your child's jaw if necessary. Correct issues that, left unchecked, could require surgery or more invasive approaches in the future.

Whenever possible, we prefer to do comprehensive or one-phase orthodontic treatment during a child's pre-teen and teenage years. If early treatment is necessary, we prefer to keep it as simple and short as possible.

"Interceptive (early) orthodontic care should be done only on select patients with specific types of bite problems," says Dr. Chapman. "Otherwise, the ideal time to straighten teeth and correct the bite can be done in one phase, when nearly all of the permanent teeth have erupted."

When needed, early treatment can:
  • Create space for crowded, erupting and incoming permanent teeth
  • Create facial symmetry (balance) by influencing how the jaw grows
  • Correct harmful oral habits, such as thumb sucking
  • Simplify and/or shorten treatment time should your child need orthodontic care later
  • Improve some speech problems
While most children don't need early treatment, Dr. Chapman will continue to monitor their growth and development to determine the optimum time for treatment, if needed. Growth and observation appointments will be scheduled every 6 to 12 months and, like the initial consultation, these appointments won't cost you a thing.
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