When Should My Child First See an Orthodontist?
Smiles in Progress
Does Your Child Need Early Treatment?
There are certain conditions that may qualify a child for early prevention orthodontics. These might include things like crossbites, crowded teeth or narrow arches. If crowded teeth are fixed at an earlier age, they allow more room for adult teeth to come in and may in turn reduce the need for teeth pulling later in life.
When Should My Child See an Orthodontist?
Early prevention starts at age seven, which is when the American Association of Orthodontists recommends parents bring their children to an orthodontist. At this age, permanent teeth have begun to create a bite pattern and can be examined for irregularities. Starting treatment early may be more beneficial to the patient. An example of this is for treatment of narrow arches. With palate expanders, the arch can be widened so that the top and bottom teeth fit together more properly and other issues can be addressed in the second phase of treatment.
What Are the Treatment Options?
Phase one treatment, early treatment between the ages of seven and nine, can also take advantage of bones that are still growing and better address problems before they develop fully.
Two-Phase treatment may include the use of expanders and other appliances, metal braces or even Invisalign! Invisalign now has its first ever product for kids, Invisalign First. With Invisalign First, you won’t have to worry about your kids breaking their metal brackets and wires. And there’s even an indicator on the aligners to let you know that your child is wearing their aligners correctly (or not!). Kids AND parents of Behl Orthodontics are loving this new option!
You might consider taking your child to an orthodontist for early prevention if:
- They have trouble breaking a thumb-sucking habit
- A speech impediment exists
- Your child’s jaw comes together in an abnormal way when they bite
- Your child’s teeth do not come together, or do so in an irregular manner
- There is an issue with breathing
- Teeth protrude from the upper or lower jaw
- Your child has problems with chewing and biting
- Your child loses their baby teeth too early or too late (they should start losing teeth at age 5 and have their adult teeth by 13)
Two-phase orthodontic treatment is used to address issues of facial bone structure as well as teeth alignment. By dividing the treatment into two different parts, it allows the orthodontist to correctly fix all problems that contribute to overall functionality of the mouth and teeth.
Phase One treatment usually involves early prevention to address problems of the jaw and underlying bone while they are still developing. The American Association of Orthodontists recommends that your child see an orthodontist by the age of seven because this is when teeth bite patterns can be recognized. Early treatment allows for bone discrepancies to be addressed and jaw problems treated so that the jaw can fit together properly. Issues such as crowded teeth can also be corrected so that adult teeth can be accommodated.
Between phases one and two, the patient takes time to rest and allow their teeth to finish coming in. The position that the teeth erupt in will not be their permanent placement, as your orthodontist will make further changes during the second phase. However, the resting period gives your mouth time to finish developing teeth so that they can be properly aligned.
In the ideal situation, you may not need further treatment after phase one. However, if you do, the first phase will allow for the second to be less involved and detailed. If your arches were expanded during part one to allow for adult teeth to erupt, then you no longer need teeth removed in the second phase.
The second phase of Two-Phase Treatment is used to tweak and correct any problems that may have not been addressed or fixed by the first phase of orthodontic therapy. It usually occurs after all permanent teeth have developed and acquired a place within the mouth. Braces are usually administered during this time to give each tooth a proper location and ensure they function in an optimal manner.
Braces can be worn for varying amounts of time, but are usually kept on for 24 months. Once they are removed, a retainer is molded and worn to keep each tooth where it’s supposed to be!