Early Prevention is the Key to a Lifetime of Dental Health
In every field of medicine and dentistry, prevention is key. By seeking proper care for your child now, you will be saving you and your family worry, stress, and money in the future. Early treatment can proactively correct issues during your child’s formative years, resulting in less invasive procedures in the future. In Louisville, KY and Radcliff, KY, Dr. L. Douglas Knight fully endorses the American Association of Orthodontists’ recommendation, which states that a child’s first visit to the orthodontist should happen by the age of seven. Because some permanent (adult) teeth have typically erupted by age seven, it is an ideal time to detect any developing problems.
Additionally, many parents don’t realize that 60 percent of jaw growth is complete by age 8, and 90 percent by age 12. The jaw usually stops growing altogether by age 13-15 for girls and 16-18 for boys. If certain orthodontic conditions remain untreated, they can have a negative long-term impact on your child’s future health. Problems with jaw growth or occlusion (the way the teeth fit together) can lead to more serious complications that can affect breathing or speech patterns. If crowding is an issue, allowing it to go untreated may result in extractions of permanent (adult) teeth later on.
At Knight Orthodontics, we have a philosophy of conservative, comprehensive care. While the majority of young patients will not need extensive early treatment, it is a good idea to visit Dr. Knight for a complimentary consultation, to determine if your child may benefit from preventative care. In most cases, we will simply monitor your child’s growth and development until they are older.
During your child’s consultation, we will carefully assess the placement of the facial bones and developing teeth, look for abnormalities or signs of future misalignment and check your child’s breathing habits. Many people are unaware of the importance of nasal breathing for proper jaw development, and chronic mouth breathing can put your child at greater risk of improper jaw development.
Early Interceptive Treatment
Two-phase treatment involves beginning the first phase around the age of eight or nine, and initiating a second phase around the age of 11 or 12. During phase one, a combination of appliances may be used, such as partial braces, a palatal expander, or retainers. This treatment encourages normal jaw growth and development, and holds space for the eruption of permanent teeth.
Following phase one, there will be a resting period in which we allow normal growth to occur as we monitor your child’s progress. Phase two will begin around the age of 11 or 12, if necessary, and typically involves full upper and lower braces. Because significant correction was completed during phase one, phase two is typically much less invasive and lasts approximately 12 to 24 months.
Routine Dental Hygiene and Maintenance
In addition to regular visits to the orthodontist, be sure your child is also having routine dental cleanings at your family dental practice. Excellent oral hygiene is even more important when there are orthodontic issues, as brushing and flossing can be challenging. Introducing your child to the dentist at an early age can develop good habits and provide them with knowledge that will last a lifetime. Dentistry has improved immensely over the past few decades. Your child needs to know going to the dentist does not have to be a scary experience. In fact, it can be a comfortable, calm, and even fun experience!
We are Here to Help!
Determining what is best for your child’s health can be overwhelming. You have many options, and we are thrilled you are considering Knight Orthodontics for your family! Whether you are a potential patient or an old friend, we make it our mission to be here for you to answer any questions or address any concerns. If you are considering orthodontics for you or your child, schedule a complimentary evaluation with Dr. Knight. You can call our office at (502) 327-6453 (Louisville) or (270) 351-5151 (Radcliff), or schedule an appointment online.