There is a common misconception that parents should wait until their children are 13 years old or until all the permanent teeth are present to consider orthodontic treatment. Waiting could result in more invasive, costly treatment.
The American Association of Orthodontists promotes the benefits of having children evaluated by an orthodontist by age 7. Dr. Tsintolas is trained to evaluate children with a mix of baby and adult teeth. He determines if orthodontic treatment is advisable and coordinates the timing of treatment to achieve the greatest benefit.
If Dr. Tsintolas determines it is best to allow your child more time for tooth eruption and jaw growth, he suggests your child return to the office for free periodic monitoring. Appointments are arranged once or twice a year to observe growth and determine when and if orthodontic treatment is needed. Parents have the peace of mind that a specialist is available to their family.
On the other hand, let’s say the initial evaluation reveals something that should be addressed. This is when Dr. Tsintolas recommends early orthodontic treatment, also known as “interceptive orthodontics.” Early treatment, while a child is actively growing, affords Dr. Tsintolas a window of opportunity to correct skeletal mismatches, shape the jaws to proper arch form, create adequate space for the natural eruption of the permanent teeth, and guide facial esthetic development. The ultimate goal is to address orthodontic problems before they become more serious and require extensive treatment to correct.
Dr. Tsintolas expertly coordinates your child’s growth with various treatment elements such as custom appliances, partial braces and other specialty treatment modalities to achieve the young patient’s individual treatment goals. Intervention appliances make it possible for Dr. Tsintolas to redirect jaw growth and even expand the palate if necessary to create better relationships between the upper and lower jaws and provide enough room for erupting teeth that may otherwise become impacted or crowded.
A great deal can be done using these appliances to minimize more aggressive treatment later. For example, making room for impacted teeth while the jaws are growing avoids the need to surgically expose and guide the teeth into alignment.
Interceptive orthodontics can yield major esthetic results for our young patients. It is rewarding when the results of early orthodontic care resolves self-image concerns and boosts self-confidence.
The following intervention appliances are among those commonly used in our practice:
This appliance is placed in the roof of the mouth and incrementally expanded to widen the palate as desired. Palatal expanders can be fixed or removable.
These appliances help children break unhealthy oral habits, such as thumb sucking and tongue thrusting.
Just as the name implies, these appliances help retain space needed for erupting teeth.
These are used to redirect the growth of the maxilla, or upper jaw, outward to help correct an underbite.