Kids Orthodontics: The Low-Down on Jaw Expansion and Braces

This post was written by our friends at Madison Family Dental. We are proud of the relationships we have built with local businesses and only partner with brands we trust!

Regular dental cleanings and exams are important for more than just preventing cavities. At every Madison Family Dental appointment, we pay close attention to how your child’s teeth and jaw are developing to offer interceptive orthodontics for our young patients. 

What is interceptive ortho?

These aren’t the traditional teenage braces that come to mind when you hear the word “orthodontics.” Instead of trying to straighten an adolescent’s teeth after they’re done growing, our interceptive approach allows us to help their jaw develop properly from the get-go.

We take advantage of your child’s major growth periods to increase the chances that their teeth will align naturally and make it easier to straighten their smile in the long run!

How does interceptive ortho work?

We can start as early as the age of five, and the process can often be completed in just six months to a year. It typically involves an in-mouth appliance called an expander that is turned at regular intervals to create more room in your child’s mouth. It might be a little uncomfortable at first, but the jawbones of young kids are easy to move around, so pain is minimal.

Once all of your child’s permanent teeth come in, we start focusing more directly on getting them into the right position with traditional braces or invisible aligner options. Simply making sure there is enough room in the mouth to start with makes this much easier when the time comes.

What are the other benefits of interceptive ortho?

Expanding a child’s jaw not only makes a big difference for having a straight smile — it can help avoid a slew of other future problems as well.

Interceptive orthodontics prevent sleep apnea by making sure there is enough room for your child’s tongue to sit in a natural, relaxed position. This not only improves their sleep, but also their speech, social confidence, and long-term development.

What if my child is past the prime age for interceptive ortho?

Don’t worry — at Madison Family Dental, we offer traditional orthodontics as well! While it’s certainly easier to align teeth after interceptive ortho has been performed during a child’s prime growth period, it’s really never too late to get a straighter smile. 

We provide braces and invisible aligner options for older children, teenagers, and adults alike. When you make an appointment with us, we’ll take you through all your options and the expected outcomes for each one depending on your personal history.

How do I get started?

The earlier we start to work with your child, the smoother the process will be. All you need to do is make a pediatric appointment with Madison Family Dental, and we’ll walk you through the next steps from there!

Don’t worry about your child being nervous for their appointment — we’ve been voted Madison’s “Top Family/Pediatric Dentist” for two separate years, and we even have a few cute stuffed animal staff members to help our more uncertain guests get through their appointments smiling!

Betsy is a mom to two sassy, spunky and spirited kiddos and wife to an adventurous, soccer-loving Chemist named Noah. She is originally from the Chicago suburbs but has bounced around the world with her husband before landing (hopefully permanently!) in Madison. Her first child, Jackson, was born in Germany during their two years living abroad. Betsy loves exploring new cities, donuts (any kind, anywhere) and being a stay at home mom. She is currently in school with plans to become an Occupational Therapist.


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