Orthodontics for Children
While there is no exact age for children to begin orthodontic treatment, the American Association of Orthodontists recommends visiting the orthodontist around age seven.
By this age, most children have a mix of baby teeth and adult teeth, making it easier for the orthodontist to diagnose and correct tooth and jaw problems sooner and without surgery.
Early treatment allows your orthodontist to:
- Correct and guide the growth of your child's jaw to help the permanent teeth come in straight
- Regulate the width of the upper and lower arches
- Create more space for crowded teeth
- Avoid the need for permanent tooth extractions later in life
- Correct thumb sucking and help improve minor speech problems
For parents, it's not always easy to know if your child may need orthodontic treatment.
Here are a few things to look for that may mean your child needs to see an orthodontist:
- Early or late loss of baby teeth
- A hard time chewing or biting food
- Mouth breathing
- Finger or thumb sucking
- Crowded, misplaced, or blocked teeth
- Jaws that pop or make sounds when opening and closing
- Teeth that come together abnormally, or do not come together at all
- Jaws and teeth that are not proportionate to the rest of the face
- Crowded front teeth around age seven or eight
What is Phase 1 treatment?
Phase 1 (interceptive) treatment aids in several areas including; Creating room for crowded and erupting teeth. It can also reduce the risk of trauma to protruding front teeth by moving them to a more ideal position. In some cases, phase 1 treatment is required to preserve space for un-erupted teeth if baby teeth are lost too early.
During this phase, your child may be treated with an orthodontic appliance such as palatal expander to widen the upper jaw and create enough room for permanent teeth to grow.
When orthodontic intervention is not necessary, an orthodontist can carefully monitor growth and development and begin treatment when it is ideal.
What is phase 2 treatment?
This phase generally begins in the early teen years, when all of the permanent teeth have erupted.
The focus of Phase 2 treatment is to align the teeth and jaws to create a harmonious facial appearance. During this phase, a full treatment of braces or Invisalign is often completed. Both the top and bottom teeth are typically treated in Phase 2.
Every child develops at a different rate, so early orthodontic treatment for your child may be optimal at an earlier or later stage than average. At your complimentary consultation, we’ll help you determine the right path for your child.