Early Orthodontics: Other Procedures

Sminling Child with Braces

Blog Highlights:

  • Other early intervention orthodontic treatments may be used when the child is still young
  • The palatal expander is a device that helps expand a child’s upper dental arch
  • Space maintainers can help keep proper teeth alignment

In addition to early braces, other early intervention orthodontic treatments may be used when the child is still young to help correct his or her dental arches or jaw positioning. Once their mouth is fully formed, they may need additional treatment, but addressing the issue as early as possible often benefits the child in the long run. Other treatments may help lessen the amount of orthodontic work they’ll need in the future.

Palatal Expander

The palatal expander is a device that helps expand a child’s upper dental arch. It is important for a child to have a wide enough arch so that the permanent teeth have room to grow properly. The mechanism is rather simple. Two pieces of plastic are attached to both sides of the upper molars. Connected to these plastic pieces is an expansion screw. Over the course of treatment, the screw is gradually turned. When the screw is turned it forces the rows of teeth away from each other. Once the arch is corrected, the palatal expander is removed. This procedure ensures there is enough room for the child’s permanent teeth to grow.

Space Maintainers

If a child looses a tooth prematurely due to injury or even decay, the surrounding teeth are likely to migrate into the open space. Space maintainers can be installed in the vacant space to keep it free until the permanent tooth is ready to grow in. Space maintainers come in two forms: a band or a temporary crown. Your dentist can determine the best option for your child. Once the permanent tooth is ready to come in, your dentist will remove the space maintainer. Space maintainers often ensure that later orthodontic work won’t be needed to correct spacing.

No matter what type of orthodontic treatment your child is undergoing, it is imperative to help them keep their teeth and gums clean. Make sure they brush and floss every day and use any other maintenance methods recommended by your dentist.