Orthodontic Treatment for Children
Orthodontic Treatment for your Child
The American Association of Orthodontists recommends your child have an initial consultation around age 7. Having an evaluation by this age, while your child is still growing, enables us to determine whether any interceptive (preventative) treatment will be needed.
This interceptive treatment is commonly known as Phase I. Phase II would incorporate braces after your child is slightly older.
Phase I Treatment
The goal of a first phase of orthodontic treatment is to help the jaw develop in a way that allows your child to keep all of his or her permanent teeth. By the time your child is 7 a trained orthodontist can spot early signs of a developing jaw problem. A jaw that is too narrow or in an improper position can be expanded and redirected.
- Preventing jaw surgery is one of the main goals and benefits of early treatment. An orthodontic appliance can be used to guide your child’s jaws into the proper relationship as they grow.
- Eliminating the need for extractions of permanent teeth is another major benefit of early treatment. Your doctor can expand your child’s jaw to make room for erupting teeth and reduce crowding.
Each child is unique when it comes to their needs and your doctor will create a personalized treatment plan for you to ensure the best outcome.
Signs that your child may need early treatment:
- Overbite or “buck teeth”
- Losing baby teeth too early or too late
- Difficult chewing or biting into things
- Crowded teeth
- Finger sucking or pacifier habits beyond age five
- A bite that does not close in the front
- Upper front teeth growing in behind the bottom front teeth (underbite)
- Weak or prominent chin
- Teeth that wear unevenly or do not touch
- Jaws that shift off center when biting down
- Excessive spacing
- Mouth breathing or snoring
After creating the foundation for a perfect smile, phase two of treatment allows us to perfect your child’s smile to ensure a long-lasting and healthy grin.
Phase two is all about braces, making sure each tooth is in the position it needs in order to create the best smile for your child. This typically involves upper and lower braces, and may sometimes begin while your child is finishing up their first phase.
This phase is typically started once your child has all of their permanent teeth. Treatment time with braces is dependent on each individual case, and when the braces come off we create retainers to ensure your child maintains their smile for life.
What is the benefit of two-phase treatment?
Treating your child in two phases allows us to take advantage of your child’s growth to create a functional, healthy, beautiful smile. Many children do not require a first phase of treatment, but our doctors still recommend an initial consultation.
If your child does not need a first phase of treatment, this first visit is used to determine when would be the ideal time to begin orthodontic treatment. Until the time for braces comes we will continue to monitor your child for free to ensure the healthiest smile possible.
Our office will never recommend unnecessary treatment for your child.