Every year a lot of parents are forced to seek the help of an interceptive orthodontist to correct the bite problem of their teenage children. However, most of these problems would have been avoided if they had sought the services while their children were still young.
Although it is possible to correct bite problems later in life, the best option is always to “intercept” it during the early years of a child. That is why it is called interceptive orthodontic – a combination of procedures and techniques carried out during the premature stages of jaw development.
The purpose of conducting the procedure is to try and influence how the mouth structure and jaws develop during early childhood years. It is recommended that the treatment be done before puberty for it to be effective.
The procedure is also meant to correct the abnormal jaw growth to ensure that the formation of a poor bite won’t happen. For instance, the upper jaw might appear to be growing narrower than usual – hence limiting the space where tooth eruption is supposed to take place.
To correct the abnormal jaw growth, an orthodontist will insert a palatal expander on top of your child’s mouth. The appliance is then supposed to exert a certain amount of pressure towards the inside of the tooth. This will help to stimulate the jaws to grow wider.
The appliance (palatal expander) operates because of the space that exists in the bones, within the center of the palate. This space later fuses when a child reaches puberty.
The pressure from the device is also meant to keep the gap open while the body continues to fill the narrowing gap with a bone. In the long run, it will widen the jaw.
If a parent waits until puberty when the gap has already fused, then it will require a surgical process to reopen it to apply this procedure.
Another option to prevent jaw growth or expansion is through a Herbst appliance. This is a hinged gadget designed to alter the movement of a child’s jaws.
As the child continues to wear it, the device draws the lower jaw towards the desired direction. Similar to the palatal expander, a Herbst appliance is more effective before a significant jaw growth.
However, it is important to note that not all interceptive techniques are extensive and complex. For example, a space maintainer is among the simplest procedures.
In case a primary tooth before maturity, the teeth close to the empty space will automatically try to drift towards it.
To avoid this from happening, an orthodontist will insert a tiny wire loop around the space to prevent the surrounding teeth from drifting towards that particular space.
In a nutshell, there are two major options used by interceptive orthodontists to prevent to slow or stop a biting problem.
In order to get the best results, the procedure should be conducted at the right time. It is recommended that you take your child for an orthodontic evaluation at around 6 years.
Dr. Rick Herrmann will be able to determine which kind of corrective procedure is best for your child’s condition. Please schedule your free consultation today!