Early Orthodontics in Willowbrook, Countryside, Hinsdale & Burr Ridge, IL
At Willowbrook Orthodontics, we strive to provide high quality orthodontic treatment while maintaining a fun, friendly office environment. Dr. Yue and our expert team of highly trained orthodontic specialists work hard to design specialized treatment plans that perfectly suit our patients’ unique orthodontic needs, and we have the knowledge and skills to make a trip to our office a pleasant experience for everyone involved – even the young ones. And that’s a good thing, because sometimes orthodontic treatment has to start early!
In keeping with the American Association of Orthodontists, we ask parents to bring their child in for an initial examination around age 7. By this age, the back bite is established, so we can spot current problems as well as problems that may develop down the line. While we may or may not start treatment at this stage, evaluating early lets us monitor your child’s growth and development so we can choose the ideal time to start treatment. Sometimes, though, interceptive treatment is a necessity.
When Earlier is Better
Treatment for most orthodontic problems starts after the baby teeth have fallen out and most permanent teeth are in place – typically around age 9-14. But there are certain conditions that are much easier to treat if caught early on, when we can take advantage of a child’s natural growth processes.
One such condition is severe cross-bite, where the lower teeth close outside the upper teeth. By starting treatment early, we can us a device called a palatal expander to gradually, painlessly widen the upper jaw, avoiding more invasive treatments like oral surgery down the line.
Severe crowding can also benefit from early treatment. If the jaws are too small to accommodate all the permanent teeth, they can fall out of alignment and cause a host of problems. By starting early, we can again use a palatal expander to widen the jaw and make more room for the teeth. Even if we decide to use braces during adolescence, interceptive treatment still lets us minimize overall treatment time.
In addition to these two, there are a number of other conditions that orthodontic treatment may help. If not addressed early on, protruding front teeth are prone to damage, chipping, and fractures while a severe underbite may cause serious bite problems. We can use appliances like braces or headgear to correct these problems early, setting the stage for a healthy, beautiful smile that will last your child the rest of their life.
Retraining Bad Habits
The sucking reflex is a natural part of early childhood, and few images are more comforting than that of an infant sucking its thumb. If the behavior continues past age 4, though, it can actually reshape the teeth and jaws, creating a condition called open bite where the front teeth don’t meet when the mouth is closed. This may also be caused by tongue thrusting, when the tongue pushes forward against the teeth while swallowing.
Dangers of Thumb Sucking
Mouth breathing is another abnormal early childhood behavior that can have serious effects down the line. This is characterized by a child always breathing with their mouth opening, and if left untreated, it can cause serious abnormalities in the muscular structure and functions of the face and impair proper jaw growth.
We can work with your child to correct these habits, and we can use a variety of appliances and techniques to help change them. Starting early is key, though – the longer the habits go on, the more damage they cause. That’s why it’s so critical to bring your child in for an initial exam when they turn 7.