Posted on
Picture of smiling girl

As you beam with pride at your family dental office when all 3 of your kids receive glowing reports that they have no cavities, your smile begins to fade when the dentist hands you a small referral slip to the orthodontist for your oldest child, who is only 8. What?! He only has 6 adult teeth in, the rest are still baby teeth and they aren't that crooked!

Consultation at a top orthodontist in Beavercreek and Englewood

Fast forward to the next week at your child's orthodontic consultation at O'Brien Orthodontics. 

Dr. Brenda O'Brien will explain to you that although your son's teeth appear relatively straight, how the top and bottom teeth come together cause your son to shift his lower jaw to one side every time he closes in order to allow his top and bottom teeth to comfortably fit together.  This repetitive shift of the lower jaw throughout each day (consider how many times in a day we bring our teeth together) during an age range of significant growth, has the potential for asymmetric growth of the lower jaw.

In addition, although your son's teeth do not appear crooked or noticeably crowded, the panoramic x-ray reveals the size difference between the smaller primary (baby) teeth and the larger permanent (adult) teeth that are yet to come in. Therefore, the space deficit is actually greater than what it appears at this moment. The top canine teeth are typically one of the last adult teeth to come in, so that if the other adult teeth have already taken up all the available space, these teeth have the potential to become impacted or "stuck in bone".

See Dayton, Ohio's Premier Orthodontists

To prevent both of these scenarios, it is recommended that an "interceptive" phase of orthodontic treatment be completed at this younger age in order to develop the necessary space to accommodate the larger adult teeth and allow the top and bottom teeth to fit together comfortably without shifting the lower jaw and potentially causing it's asymmetric growth.

Does this early, interceptive treatment address all of your child's orthodontic needs? Possibly, but not likely. In most cases, a second phase of orthodontic treatment will be necessary in the complete permanent dentition to ideally and more comprehensively correct the bite.

If you're unsure what to expect, or want to know the possible next steps in caring for your children's orthodontics needs, please come see us in Englewood or Beavercreek! You'll spend less time with technicians and more time directly with Dr. Brenda O'Brien than at other orthodontist offices. We can't wait to see you!