We’ve all heard the phrase, “Nip it in the bud.” It’s a way of saying we should take care of issues when they are small before they become bigger problems.
This the idea behind early orthodontic treatment, which is sometimes called Phase I orthodontics or interceptive orthodontics. It’s a way we can take action when a child is still growing to reduce and possibly eliminate the need for more extensive orthodontic treatment when they are older.
At Leiker Orthodontics, we welcome and encourage you to bring your son or daughter to see us around his or her 7th birthday. An early orthodontic screening can help us identify potential issues and, if needed, develop a plan of action.
Your Child’s First Orthodontic Screening
Bringing your son or daughter to Leiker Orthodontics for an initial screening is an important step in their orthodontic care. By age 7, your child will likely have some adult teeth. This makes this a good time to identify potential issues with crowding or protruding teeth.
At the same time, this gives us an opportunity to intervene if we see those problems. Through early treatment, Dr. Brad Leiker can help guide how your child’s teeth erupt to reduce the severity of problems as he or she gets older.
During your visit, we will use our advanced technology to make a three-dimensional X-ray image of your child’s teeth and mouth. This allows us to examine their teeth from all angles, which helps us diagnose problems more effectively.
Your visit also is a great opportunity to ask any questions your have and to address any concerns about what treatment may be needed.
How Early Orthodontics Can Help
If you needed orthodontic care when you were younger, then there is a good chance that your children will need braces or some other treatment as well.
Some issues that may need to be addressed can be the result of genetics. Your children’s teeth (like your teeth when you were younger) may not come in straight. At the same, behaviors like thumb sucking and tongue thrusting (pushing on the teeth the tongue) can cause or add to issues such as overbites and open bites.
If your children’s teeth are not able to erupt like they should, this can lead to problems with speaking and eating, not to mention potential self-esteem issues as they get older. With early treatment, you can head off trouble at the pass.
Each child is different, so what steps we recommend will depend on the specifics of your child’s situation. For example, if crowding appears likely to be a problem, we can address that with the use of a palatal expander. This tool will guide the growth of your child’s mouth in a way that creates more room for teeth to erupt correctly.
Another potential problem is when children lose their primary teeth before their permanent teeth are ready to emerge. In this situation, we may use a space maintainer to prevent nearby teeth from drifting out of position (which could create other problems when the permanent tooth does emerge).
Our goal is to help your child as much as we can, as early as we can, so his or her Phase II orthodontic care can be as minimal and as effective as possible.
Dr. Brad Leiker has dreamed of being an orthodontist since he was a junior high student. He knew what his orthodontist did to help his own self-esteem, and he wants to do the same thing for our patients today.
He graduated with honors from the dental school at the University of Texas Health Science Center in San Antonio. He then went on to an orthodontic residency at the University of Oklahoma College of Dentistry, where he received his orthodontic certificate and a Master of Science degree.
For more than 20 years, Dr. Leiker has enjoyed serving the patients at his dentist offices in Conroe and The Woodlands, TX. And he continues to keep up with the latest developments in orthodontic care because he wants our patients to have the best orthodontic care possible.
If you would like to learn more about what Leiker Orthodontics can do for your family, schedule an orthodontic screening today. Either fill out our online form or call 832-510-6678 to get started.