Interceptive Orthodontic Treatment for Children

As parents, keeping children happy and healthy is a major responsibility. 

According to the American Academy of Pediatrics, doctor visits should begin in just the first week of a child’s life with frequent follow-up appointments until age 3. After that, annual appointments are the norm. Biannual dental visits also start early for children, beginning when the child’s first tooth appears, according to guidance from the American Academy of Pediatric Dentists

While all parents should know these guidelines, they may be less aware of how important pediatric orthodontic work is. The experts at the American Association of Orthodontists tell parents that they arrange their child’s first orthodontist visit at age 7. By then, permanent teeth are starting to come in and the child’s face and jaw bones are still growing. With this information, orthodontists can begin the first phase of orthodontic work—aka interceptive orthodontic treatment. 

Here, we take a look at what interceptive orthodontic treatment is and how it can benefit your child’s long-term oral health:

What Exactly is Interceptive Orthodontic Treatment?

Also called “phase-one orthodontics” or simply “early orthodontics,” interceptive orthodontic treatment revolves around addressing alignment problems as early as possible. In short, interceptive orthodontic procedures aim to either eliminate alignment issues at an early age or at least reduce the severity of an issue while a child’s dentition is still developing. 

By and large, interceptive orthodontic treatments are simple. Depending on what issues the patient is dealing with, treatments range from muscle exercises and controlling bad habits to tooth extraction, wearing an orthopedic device, or undergoing minor surgery. 

Interceptive orthodontic planning begins when child patients first enter the orthodontist’s office at age 5. At this first appointment, the orthodontist performs a complete evaluation of the patient’s evolving facial/dental features, including their:

With the help of this examination, the child’s orthodontist will be able to pinpoint emerging problems before they have a chance to become more severe. 

How Interceptive Orthodontic Treatment Can Benefit Your Child

Interceptive orthodontic treatments provide children with numerous long-term health benefits. Rather than allowing bite issues and tooth misalignments to freely develop, interceptive treatments minimize them at an early stage, leading to easier, quicker treatments later on. 

Consider crossbites, for example. A type of misalignment in which one’s upper teeth fit inside the lower teeth, crossbites are developed at an early age due to several factors, including:

Over time, crossbites can cause many oral and mental health issues such as headaches, jaw pain, speech impediments, excessive plaque, and low self-image. Fortunately, interceptive orthodontic treatments can curb crossbite development and prevent these issues from taking place. 

Depending on which factors are causing the crossbite, orthodontists can use a few different methods to stop development. Common interceptive treatments include:

Each of these treatments will either correct the crossbite at an early age or prevent the crossbite from developing into a serious malocclusion (i.e. tooth misalignment). 

By providing interceptive orthodontic treatments for your children, you can help them:

Searching for Interceptive Orthodontic Treatment in Beverly Hills? BHO Has You Covered

As a part of our pediatric orthodontic services, we here at Beverly Hills Orthodontics offer interceptive treatments for a number of alignment issues, including crossbites, open bites, crowding, and more. Beyond treating specific alignment problems, interceptive orthodontic treatment also helps your child maintain great oral health and avoid development issues. 

To keep children in top health, Dr. Monica Madan and the BHO team start seeing patients at age 7. During these early-age appointments, the orthodontists at BHO will:

With these steps, you can make sure that your child is on the right path towards a happy and healthy lifestyle. 

Does It Matter If My Child’s Baby Teeth Are Crooked?

For new parents, there’s a lot to be excited about. From first steps to first words to first friends, milestones seem to come one after another. However, some of these milestones can also cause a little anxiety, especially when it comes to medical care. 

Within the first year of a child’s life, the American Academy of Pediatrics recommends six visits to the pediatrician. During this first year, parents should also bring their child to the dentist for their first check-up. As life goes on, parents naturally adjust their child’s medical schedule in relation to age. By age 7, many experts recommend that children visit the orthodontist for the first time. 

Here at Beverly Hills Orthodontics, we meet a lot of parents with first-time orthodontic patients. During introductory examinations, many of these parents already have concerns and questions—particularly when the child’s baby teeth are crooked. 

Crooked teeth affect people of all ages, so it’s understandable that parents become concerned when their child’s set of teeth isn’t straight. If you have questions about your child’s baby teeth, here’s what you need to know about early orthodontic treatments:

“Does It Matter If My Child’s Baby Teeth Are Crooked?” Probably Not

Generally speaking, crooked baby teeth are not a cause for concern. 

Baby teeth first emerge at around 6 months old, when the child’s front teeth begin erupting from the gums. From months 6 to 25-33, the rest of the child’s baby teeth emerge to give them a total of 20 teeth. Officially called “primary teeth,” baby teeth play an essential role in the development of a child’s jawbone and oral muscles. Moreover, they help children perform essential oral functions, such as chewing food and speaking clearly. 

At this stage in the child’s development, most cases of crooked teeth are inconsequential. Baby teeth frequently emerge crooked due to genetic factors and behaviors such as thumb-sucking. By and large, you should only be concerned about crooked baby teeth if your child has one or more of the following:

Fortunately, the vast majority of crooked baby teeth cases are benign and don’t necessarily mean that your child will have crooked adult teeth. However, it is still a good idea to bring your child into the orthodontist’s office starting at age 7—a topic we explore in the next section. 

When You Should Start Considering Orthodontic Treatment for Your Child

As we mentioned above, most experts agree that children should first visit an orthodontist at age 7. Why age 7? At that point, children are gaining their first few permanent teeth and their face and jaw bones are still growing. During an examination, these characteristics allow orthodontists to effectively evaluate important patient features, including:

By examining these features, orthodontists can verify that the child’s teeth are coming in correctly and identify if any alignment issues are present or on the horizon. 

In most cases, the first pediatric orthodontic visit is simply an evaluation. At Beverly Hills Orthodontics, we use the first appointment to ensure that your child is experiencing healthy bone growth and successful permanent tooth eruption. We also examine their bite, jawbone, and teeth positions to identify misalignment conditions and future issues. 

Depending on patient specifics, we can use this information to either:

  1. Formulate an orthodontic treatment plan that will begin when your child has developed further

    —or—

  2. Implement “interceptive treatments” to improve anatomical developments and positively influence growth patterns

These forms of early orthodontic treatment can correct alignment issues before they have a chance to become more complicated. That means your child may be able to avoid potentially severe alignment problems, spend less time undergoing orthodontic treatment, and more quickly obtain a perfectly aligned smile. 

Want to Talk With An Expert about Your Child’s Teeth? Schedule a Consultation with Beverly Hills Orthodontics

As a parent, it’s only natural to want the absolute best for your child. At Beverly Hills Orthodontics, we understand that. We’re parents too after all! That’s why we start treating children starting at age 7. 

Orthodontics isn’t just a way to realign your child’s teeth—it’s a way to boost their health and improve their overall self-confidence. From clearer speech to better oral function, early orthodontic care sets children up for a lifetime of well-being. Contact Beverly Hills Orthodontics today to learn how we can improve your child’s health. 

Is Whitening Children’s Teeth Okay?

When you’re a parent, nothing is more beautiful than the sight of your child’s smiling face. Even for non-parents, a child’s smile holds contagious joy. 

For children, smiling plays an essential role in neurological and social development. When children are infants, smiling adult faces help them feel safe, secure, and loved, which aids healthy brain development. Within just a few weeks of being born, infants are actually able to communicate via smiling, a phenomenon known as “social smiling.” As children mature and begin socializing with their peers, smiling becomes an important part of making friends and developing a positive life attitude. 

Given how important smiling is to childhood development, it can be painful when a child feels self-conscious about the appearance of their teeth. Tooth discoloration, in particular, can make a child hesitant to smile and can occur for a variety of reasons, including:

In these cases, many parents want to help their child by seeking out professional whitening services. But is whitening children’s teeth safe?

If you’re researching whitening options for your child, here’s what you need to know:

Whitening Children’s Teeth: Is it Possible? Is it Safe?

Broadly speaking, it is possible to whiten children’s teeth using a few different methods. However, there are many factors that you have to consider to both protect your child’s oral health and create good results. 

According to the American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry, there has been a rising interest in adolescent and pre-teen teeth whitening over the last few years. As more whitening treatments have become available in recent years, patients of all age groups have increasingly sought out information on which options will work for them. For adults, most of these products are viable choices. For minors, it’s a little more complicated. 

Consider in-office dental bleaching, for example. When performed on adult patients, dental bleaching evenly increases teeth whiteness across the entire dental arch. However, children with a mix of permanent and baby teeth will not respond well to bleaching. Once the other permanent teeth come in, the child’s mouth will be filled with mismatched colors. 

In addition, many bleaching treatments may cause side effects that will bother certain children. These risks include:

To minimize these risks, it is always recommended that you seek out professional help whenever whitening a child’s teeth. 

Top Options for Whitening Children’s Teeth

Given how many factors there are to consider when whitening children’s teeth, it’s important to partner with a dental professional rather than taking a do-it-yourself approach. With professional help, you can verify that your child is a viable candidate for whitening treatment and minimize the risk of negative repercussions. 

If your child is right for teeth whitening, they can undergo the following options:

You can find these treatments at either a cosmetic dentist’s office, or an orthodontic practice, like Beverly Hills Orthodontics, that offers pediatric services and whitening treatment. While the cosmetic dentist will be able to correct the color of your child’s smile, an orthodontist can improve your child’s smile in a holistic manner. 

The American Academy of Orthodontics recommends that children attend their first orthodontist appointment at age 7. At this initial visit, the orthodontist will be able to:

  1. Examine the child’s teeth and jaw to ensure that they are developing in a healthy manner
  2. Diagnose any bite issues or alignment problems
  3. Create a tentative treatment plan that will correct any issues at an early age

With these steps in place, your child will be set to experience the most efficient orthodontic care possible. When children are younger than 18, their jawbone structure is still developing, and is therefore easier to alter. Compared to adults, adolescent orthodontic treatments are often quicker and easier to perform. 

Here at Beverly Hills Orthodontics, not only can we help whiten your child’s teeth, we can also formulate how to correct your child’s more serious smile problems when they are easier to treat. To learn more about how your child could benefit from pediatric orthodontic care, you can schedule an in-person or virtual consultation at one of our four locations. 

Could Your Child Benefit From Teeth Whitening Treatment? Reach Out to Beverly Hills Orthodontics Today

We know how painful it can be to see your child be embarrassed of their smile. At Beverly Hills Orthodontics, we want everyone to have a smile they love—including adults, teens, and pre-teens. That’s why we offer teeth whitening services to patients of all ages. 

With a practice as sensitive as whitening children’s teeth, it’s important to partner with a professional that you can trust. Since 2008, Beverly Hills Orthodontics has been helping patients across Los Angeles improve the look and alignment of their smiles. If your child is struggling with their smile’s appearance, our team is here to help in any way they can.