Preventive/interceptive orthodontics is the process of identifying malocclusions (crowded/crooked teeth or bite problems) and intervening to guide the teeth as they emerge into the mouth. This type of early orthodontic treatment may help prevent more extensive treatment later. Orthodontic problems are also caused by habits such as thumb sucking, fingernail biting, or lip biting. We can help coach your child through oral habits that may create orthodontic problems. We also work hand-in-hand with orthodontists (the specialists for diagnosing and treating malocclusions) to help your child achieve the best smile possible.
When a baby tooth in the back part of the mouth is lost too early, usually as a result of removal from extensive tooth decay, a space maintainer may be required. A space maintainer will hold the empty space open until the permanent tooth takes its natural position in the child’s mouth. Early loss of a baby tooth without a space maintainer results in the remaining baby teeth drifting into the space to fill the gap. Space maintainers can help prevent this and in many cases can limit the need for future costly orthodontic treatment.
When all efforts have been made at home to cease a habit (like thumb sucking), and the permanent front teeth are erupting, a fixed appliance may help stop the behavior. Often these appliances are needed if the habit is persistent and is affecting the shape of the jaw or position of the teeth and before an orthodontist will place braces. These appliances can either be placed in our office or at the orthodontist’s office, and Dr. Stacey will help recommend the appropriate treatment for your child. See our FAQ “General Topics” for more information on habits.