When it comes to pediatric dentistry, the approach has been “wait and see”: wait and see if the problem will correct itself, wait and see what happens when the permanent teeth erupt, wait until the aesthetics are affected. Using that approach has caused many children to endure surgeries and complicated appliance therapies that could have been avoided. How? With interceptive orthodontics. So, when is it too early to start orthodontics and when is it too late?
Cold, Hard Facts
Jaw growth begins the MINUTE your child is born; any disruption in jaw development (which can be influenced by a number of factors) can not only lead to crowding and misalignment, it can also prevent the teeth from coming in at all. Complications with jaw growth can be corrected, but only when the child is still growing. Once the first stage of growth has been reached, the jaw bone becomes set, making it difficult to repair. This is exactly why “wait and see” just doesn’t work.
Case(s) In Point
Our 3D cone beam imaging system allows us to see a three-dimensional view of the entire mouth, including which direction the teeth are coming (or not coming) in. The following pictures are perfect examples of what happens when you “wait and see,” as that was the message that the parents of these children were given by other health care providers.
This 9-year-old was in a complete crossbite, which would have created problems in adulthood or become difficult to correct after all of his baby teeth fell out. The after picture is just six months after beginning treatment.
While her smile didn’t look bad and her initial imaging didn’t indicate a problem, the 3D image in the second picture clearly shows one tooth coming in OVER another. This 10-year-old will be seeing an oral surgeon who will uncover the tooth so we can guide it into position without damaging the root of the adjacent tooth.
This 10-year-old has so little room for all of her teeth that she will require two phases of appliances in order to create space. The photo shows phase one, which is focusing on her four front teeth.
“Wait and See” Has Caused an Epidemic
I can’t tell you the number of times I’ve heard “why didn’t anyone tell me about this?” When health care providers fail to stay current with their treatment programs, it’s their patients who suffer. Interceptive orthodontics can prevent jaw growth issues from becoming more complicated issues in the future — including sleep apnea.
The next time you’re around other parents, I challenge you to ask what they’ve been told about their children’s teeth. I’m willing to bet that they’ve heard “wait and see” at least once. It’s these parents who need this information the most. Please feel free to forward this email, give out our number … anything that will let them know that interceptive orthodontics are the best course of action, not “wait and see.”
Yours in health,
Dr. Ruth Roach Morgan & Dr. Jessica Morgan Vaughn