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signs you need braces

What Is Interceptive Orthodontics?

Posted on: June 5, 2018

Young boy with interceptive orthodontics (braces) that is smiling at the camera

Millions of people each year receive interceptive orthodontics to correct bite and alignment issues. You may know these braces by the name of “child orthodontics” or “Phase 1” orthodontics. You might even know some children who have braces. Many children need orthodontic help to ensure that their bite lines up correctly for a healthy mouth. There are also other reasons a child might need interceptive orthodontics, such as receiving them to help make room in the mouth for the adult teeth to come in. Find out what interceptive orthodontics entail and if your child needs them!


Choosing to Get Braces

Many teens wear braces each year to straighten their teeth once the permanent, adult teeth have come in. Most permanent teeth have come into the mouth by age 12 or 13. However, braces aren’t only for teens who are wanting a straighter smile. In fact, about 1/4th of all people with braces are children and about the same amount are adults. Many more people than you would think wear braces, especially when “invisible” options like Invisalign and lingual braces exist.


When you choose to get braces, you are making a smart decision for yourself and for your oral health. Many people think that braces are only meant to help the teeth become straighter. Although that is one of the main reasons, there are many benefits of braces. These appliances are used to help fix crooked teeth, but also bites and mouth alignments that aren’t in proper position. There are orthodontic appliances when a patient only needs a few months to change a dental problem and there are even surgical options for orthodontics. But, why so many options when it comes to orthodontics?


Young patient receiving an orthodontic appliance to help fix bite and alignment problems

Benefits of Braces

We love to allow our patients the freedom to correct their smiles how they want, when they want. You are never too old to get braces. Children get them all the time to fix bite problems, only to get them again later on for straightening. Adults wear them, especially if they are wanting to advance their careers. Studies show that an employer is much more likely to take a potential employee if they have a straighter smile.


Orthodontic treatment is also proven to make people more confident in their smiles and in themselves. When patients get straighter teeth and fix dental issues, they smile more, talk more and exude more confidence. This can change someone’s entire life, especially a child’s.


What Are Interceptive Orthodontics?

Interceptive orthodontics is another name for “child orthodontics”. If you are surprised that children get braces, don’t be! The American Association of Orthodontics actually recommends that children have their first orthodontic visit between the ages of 7 and 8. This is when many of the baby teeth are falling out, and a perfect time to see how permanent, adult teeth are coming in. An orthodontist can use the first orthodontic appointment to check your child for bite and alignment problems before they become severe as a child ages into a teen and then an adult.


When certain orthodontic problems like crossbite or underbite, are left untreated, these conditions can become more severe, complicating issues. Interceptive orthodontics aims to check children while they are young for problems that will become severe in the future. They “intercept” a patient before that point, and fix the problem much easier than if a child’s mouth had grown more. Interceptive orthodontics checks children at an early age to:

  • Observe the progress of incoming teeth
  • Monitor facial and jaw development
  • Guide incoming teeth into their ideal position
  • Detect hidden dental issues
  • Reduce the risk of impacted teeth
  • Decrease the risk for permanent tooth extractions


Close-up view of a young patient's mouth that has braces

Considering Interceptive Orthodontics?

Do you want to give your child the best chance possible to have a healthy mouth? Make sure you involve an orthodontist in their early-childhood development! Interceptive orthodontics is not needed for every child, but for the ones who need it, it can change their life. If a child has enough crooked teeth, it can create uneven pressure on those teeth when they bite and chew. This can lead to broken, fractured, chipped and cracked teeth. The teeth are also much harder to clean when they are crooked, leading to tooth decay and gum problems in young children.


If a child’s bite is not even or their alignment is off, it can also lead to broken teeth. When the baby teeth aren’t aligned correctly, the adult teeth won’t come in right. Children can have uneven bites form from thumb-sucking and similar habits that curve the teeth outward. This can create problems biting, chewing, talking, and more. Speech impediments can form and become worse over time if the problem isn’t corrected. No parent wants speech problems, tooth decay or dental injuries to happen to their child, and they never have to. Call Belmar Orthodontics today at (303) 225-9016 for your child’s comprehensive orthodontic exam and see if they need interceptive orthodontics today!

5 Signs You May Need Braces

Posted on: August 25, 2016

5 Signs You May Need Braces

How do you know when you need braces? Do you know? When you look in the mirror at your smile, do you like what you see? Are your teeth straight or crooked? Is your bite comfortable? Do any of your teeth collide when you bite, swallow or chew? Sometimes it is easy to spot signs that you may need orthodontic treatment, and at other times the signs might not be readily apparent. At Belmar Orthodontics, we work with you and your general dentist to determine the best course for your oral health needs. Learning what signs to look out for that could indicate that orthodontic treatment is needed can help you keep your mouth healthy and your smile bright.

Crowded Teeth

One of the most obvious signs that you need braces is needed is overcrowded teeth. Teeth that are overcrowded don’t just pose a cosmetic problem, but can pose real health threats to you. This is because food is more easily trapped in crowded teeth and harder to remove with regular teeth-cleaning methods. Trapped food leads to tooth decay, gingivitis, periodontal disease, bad breath, and can negatively affect self-esteem.

Gaps In Between Teeth

Gaps in between teeth often indicate that the upper and lower jaw are not fitting together properly, a condition commonly referred to as malocclusion. Genetics, thumb-sucking, mouth tissue formation, and other conditions can also cause gaps between the teeth. Closing these gaps not only helps to improve the aesthetics of your smile, but it also can help to fix your malocclusion problems. Gaps between teeth also leave the gum tissue between the teeth exposed and at more risk for being affected by plaque, inflammation and infection. You need braces to help close these gaps. 

Bite Issues

When we refer to your “bite” we are referring to how your upper teeth and lower teeth meet and interact when your mouth is closed. 70 percent of the population has a malocclusion problem–incorrect bite–but this is not a condition that one should ignore.  Improper bite can cause irregular wear of your teeth, jaw issues (TMJ pain) and chronic headaches. Malocclusion can also result in injury to your teeth as they improperly collide with one another as you chew or speak. Proper speech development can also be impeded when your bite isn’t functioning properly. Orthodontic treatment improves the function of your smile, and the appearance, benefiting you in numerous ways.

Jaw Pain

Jaw pain and headaches are often the result of a misaligned bite. When your jaw is not fitting together properly it can slip out of place easily, causing tension when you are sleeping.  Jaw pain can also result from a condition called TMJ disorder. TMJ, or temporomandibular joint disorder, involves your body’s temporomandibular joint (TMJ) which connects your jawbone to your skull much like a sliding hinge. When the hinge mechanism that connects the upper and lower jaw isn’t working you can experience pain in your jaw joint and in the muscles that control jaw movement.  Temporomandibular Disorder (TMD) refers to a variety of conditions that affect TM joints, jaw muscles and facial nerves.  During your consultation with Dr. Hardy he can evaluate your teeth and jaw alignment to see if your jaw pain is a result of poor alignment and determine if you need braces.

Difficulty Chewing or Speaking

Severe cases of malocclusion can affect the way you chew, speak and swallow. Do you–or your child–find yourself biting your cheek or the roof of your mouth when you are chewing? Do your teeth ever collide when you chew sending jarring sensations through your whole face and/or jaw? Do you (or your child) have problems with slurred speech, or saying certain words? If you answered yes to any of these questions, chances are that you need braces.  All of these issues can be the result of a bite that is misaligned.  Once you correct the jaw alignment, these symptoms correct themselves, but they won’t correct on their own!

What Caused Me to Need Braces?

One of the most common questions that we are asked is,  “What caused my teeth to be crooked? Or, “What caused my jaw not to be aligned correctly?  Unfortunately, we don’t always know the exact cause, but most orthodontic issues are genetic; you inherited those space or bite problems!  Other issues develop overtime due to: thumb- or finger-sucking, dental decay, mouth breathing, injuries, or poor nutrition. The good news is, regardless of the cause, Belmar Orthodontics in Lakewood can correct your teeth/bite problems and restore your proper functionality with a beautiful smile!

Think You Need Braces? Call for a Free Consultation

If you have seen one or some of these signs that you may need braces, give us a call!  Life with braces brings exciting changes, and sometimes some challenging adjustments too, but the end result is a healthier you!  Belmar Orthodontics can help you obtain a healthy, functional, attractive smile.  If you think you need braces, our online patient education can help answer any questions you may have, and our friendly staff is always available to help.  Call 303.225.9016 today to learn more about braces or to schedule an appointment.  Dr. Hardy is committed to your care and will help you reach your smile goals as quickly and efficiently as possible if you need braces.