How do I know if my child needs early orthodontic treatment?
The best way to know whether your child would benefit from treatment is by bringing them in for their complimentary consultation. Here are some common signs that may indicate a need for orthodontic treatment:
- Persistent mouth-breathing
- Thumbsucking or tongue-thrusting habits
- Early, late or irregular loss of baby teeth
- Crooked, crowded or gapped teeth
- Jaw pain or facial pain
- Lack of self esteem or confidence when smiling
- Jaw shifting, popping or clicking
- Difficult or pain when chewing or biting
- Inability to chew food properly
- Digestive issues caused by improper chewing
Why is early orthodontic treatment important?
A healthy smile is more than straight teeth! When problematic orthodontic conditions are left untreated, they can cause TMJ problems, poor oral hygiene, bad breath, cavities, gum disease, and even tooth decay.
When the teeth and jaw bones are aligned, it’s easier to brush all surfaces of the teeth and floss between each tooth. Straightening the teeth and aligning the jaw bones minimizes the hard-to-reach spaces, making a beautiful smile easier to maintain.
The younger years are also fundamental to establishing a healthy sense of confidence and self esteem. A healthy smile can have a significant impact on your child’s confidence. Every child deserves to smile confidently!
Phase 1 and Phase 2 Orthodontic Treatment
Early orthodontic treatment is most effective when separated into two phases, designed to work alongside the natural development of the teeth and jaw bones.
How old do you have to be to get braces?
Treatment age can differ for everyone! The American Association of Orthodontists recommends your child receives his or her first orthodontic exam by age 7. Some patients get braces at age 8, while others get braces in the teen years. At your child’s first exam, we can determine when the best time to start treatment is.
What is Phase 1 treatment?
Phase 1 orthodontic treatment is typically completed between the ages of 7 and 10. The purpose of this treatment is to prepare the mouth for permanent teeth to emerge in a healthy alignment with a sufficient amount of space.
During this phase, many children are treated with a palatal expander appliance to widen the upper jaw and create enough room for permanent teeth to grow. Phase 1 orthodontic treatment focuses on ensuring healthy jaw bone development to establish a strong foundation for the permanent teeth to be aligned in Phase 2.
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 create a harmonious facial appearance. During this phase, a full treatment of children’s braces or clear aligners 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.