Early Treatment

Orthodontic Treatment in Woodbury, MN

At Henseler & Kocian Orthodontics, our mission is to help each of our patients achieve a beautiful, healthy smile—and sometimes, that process is best started early. As leading orthodontists serving the Woodbury and Stillwater areas, we’re proud to provide superior orthodontic treatment for patients of all ages. While most of our patients are teenagers, in some cases, the best way to achieve a great smile is to start during childhood with early orthodontic treatment. Continue reading to learn why.

 Orthodontic Problems.

Braces for Kids in Stillwater

Early orthodontic treatment isn't right for every patient—in fact, most kids we evaluate are not ready to begin treatment at the time of evaluation. However, there are some cases in which starting orthodontic treatment early is the best way to improve the growth and development of the teeth and jaws. By influencing this growth, we can easily and painlessly create changes that can require surgery if addressed later in life.

When Should My Child See an Orthodontist?

Child Smiling With Her Arms FoldedSo when exactly does early treatment start? The answer to this question will change from patient to patient, but one thing is certain: all children should have their first orthodontic evaluation at age 7. By this age, important permanent teeth have erupted. This allows the perfect opportunity for your Stillwater orthodontist to evaluate the developing bite and spot any current problems as well as issues that may arise in the future. With this examination, we can decide together when treatment would be best for your child. Dr. Henseler and Dr. Kocian are dedicated to making your experience as informed and comfortable as possible, which is why we will clearly explain our findings, whether your child may benefit from an early orthodontic treatment, and why or why not.

What Conditions Can Early Treatment Correct?

Not all problems need to be corrected early, but there are a number of conditions that may warrant early orthodontic treatment. These include:

  • Crossbite.Crossbite: This condition, characterized by the lower teeth sitting outside of the upper teeth, is much easier to correct as the smile is still in its developing stages. Using a device called a palatal expander, we can widen the upper jaw and fix crossbite without the need for more extensive treatments.
  • Crowding.Crowding: When teeth are overcrowded in the mouth, we can again use palatal expansion to widen the jaws and create more room for the teeth, solving the crowding problem and allowing permanent teeth to erupt naturally, again avoiding more invasive treatment.
  • Protruding teeth.Upper Front Teeth Protrusion: Sometimes, early treatment is a protective measure. In cases where the upper front teeth stick out too much, we may use early treatment to bring them back in line to protect them from chips, fractures, and damage. If a patient suffers from a deep overbite or underbite, early treatment can be used to correct these problems as well.

Orthodontic Treatment For Bad Habits

 Dangers of Thumb Sucking.

Another reason for early treatment is to correct certain parafunctional (unhealthy) habits that some children develop. Prolonged thumb sucking or finger habits past age 4 can cause changes in the alignment of the teeth over time, producing a malocclusion called an open bite. Painless orthodontic appliances can stop these habits and prevent the need for more extensive treatment.

One other common problem in children is mouth breathing, which occurs when a child always breathes through their mouth. While this may seem harmless, it can change the development of the jaws and teeth. Depending on the underlying cause, your Woodbury orthodontist can use oral appliances to help a child improve their breathing, and correct the issue before it causes further problems.

Schedule a Consultation with Your Stillwater, MN Orthodontist

While early treatment isn't right for every child, it offers the best chance for a developing bite in certain cases. If you believe your child may benefit from early treatment, or if they have not yet been in for an evaluation by age 7, don’t wait. Schedule a consultation or contact us today with any questions. As your trusted Stillwater and Woodbury orthodontist, we can’t wait to help your child develop a beautiful, healthy smile that will last for years to come!

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