A pediatric dentist isn’t merely someone who offers treatment when a child develops a cavity or other such oral health issue. Ideally, by taking your child to see their dentist on a regular basis, you’ll give their dentist the opportunity to prevent certain issues from arising in the first place.
One way a pediatric dentist may achieve this goal is through identifying and treating any indications for interceptive orthodontic treatment services, or referring to an orthodontist. A dentist who offers this treatment could potentially identify orthodontic problems early, treating them before they worsen.
Interceptive Orthodontic Treatment Defined
The purpose of interceptive orthodontic treatment is to take a proactive approach to a child’s orthodontic care. Although specific interceptive orthodontic treatment methods can vary depending on the needs of an individual patient, they generally involve addressing minor orthodontic issues early to prevent them from becoming more significant.
Common Types of Interceptive Orthodontic Treatment
Interceptive orthodontic treatment comes in a variety of forms. Common examples include:
- Maintaining the space between a child’s teeth: One of the functions of a baby tooth is essentially to “save the space” for an adult tooth that will eventually replace it. However, due to injury, illness, or other such factors, a child might lose a baby tooth early. If this happens, other nearby teeth might shift in position. When the adult tooth finally does erupt, it might not have adequate space to do so properly, resulting in a misalignment. Various interceptive orthodontic treatments can guard against this.
- Addressing bad habits: According to the Mayo Clinic, prolonged thumb sucking and other such habits can potentially have long-term impacts on the alignment of a child’s teeth. Thus, some interceptive orthodontic treatments involve providing children with appliances that serve to help them break these habits.
Other issues interceptive orthodontic treatment might address include (but aren’t necessarily limited to) the following:
- Crowding teeth
- Protruding teeth
Depending on the nature of the issue, a dentist may be able to provide interceptive orthodontic treatment directly. If they can’t, they may refer your child to an orthodontist.
Benefits of Interceptive Orthodontic Treatment
Interceptive orthodontic treatment has the potential to offer a range of benefits to a child and their parents. They include:
- Optimizing oral health: By taking steps to prevent significant orthodontic problems from developing in the first place, interceptive orthodontic treatment can help a child maximize their dental and oral health from a young age.
- Boosting comfort: Again, specific interceptive orthodontic treatment methods can and do vary. However, these treatments may cause less discomfort than the treatments for the types of orthodontic issues they serve to prevent.
- Saving money: If interceptive orthodontic treatment successfully prevents a major orthodontic problem, a child’s parents may not have to pay for what could be costlier treatments in the future.
- Improving confidence: Interceptive orthodontic treatment can have a positive influence on the appearance of a child’s smile. If your child isn’t self-conscious about the look of their teeth, they may enjoy greater overall confidence.
Additionally, even if a child does need orthodontic treatment in the future, the nature of said treatment may be relatively simple if a child received some form of interceptive orthodontic treatment beforehand.
These are all reasons to prioritize regularly bringing your child to a dentist who offers interceptive orthodontic care. By striving to identify and address orthodontic problems early, you and your child’s dentist can set them up for a lifetime of quality oral health.
Learn More About Interceptive Orthodontic Treatment in Albuquerque, NM
At ABQ Pediatric Dentistry, interceptive orthodontic treatment is among the many services we offer. Learn more about what Dr. Audrey Rawson and her team can do for your child and their oral health by contacting us online or calling us at 505-888-3520 to request an appointment.