The American Association of Orthodontists recommends that children see an orthodontist by age seven. At this point the orthodontist will evaluate whether your child will need orthodontic treatment. Early treatment (also known as Phase One) typically begins around ages 7 though 9. Even if your child cannot yet have orthodontic treatment, we will enroll them into our observation program. While in observation, we will monitor their growth until they are developed enough to begin treatment. Phase One treatment usually involves treatment of primary dentition, or "baby" teeth, and is aimed toward correcting the growth of the jaw and bite issues. Early treatment also helps to make room for permanent teeth to come in properly, lessening the chance of extractions in the future. Phase One treatment is proceeded by Phase Two treatment, which treats the permanent teeth and corrects the alignment of the teeth and any additional bite issue.
How can I tell if my child needs early orthodontic treatment?
Look for these signs in your child:
Early or late loss of baby teeth (your child should typically start losing teeth around age five, and will have all permanent teeth around age 13)
Difficulty chewing and/or biting
Continued thumb sucking after age 5
Protruding teeth (the top teeth and the bottom teeth extend away from each other)
Teeth that don't come together in a normal manner or even at all
Shifting of the jaw when your child opens or closes his or her mouth (crossbites)
Crowded front teeth around age seven or eight
Most children lose all their baby teeth by age 13, and by the end of their teen years, the jaw bones will harden and stop growing. Orthodontic procedures for adults often take more time and can involve tooth extraction or oral surgery. Receiving early orthodontic treatment as a child can help prevent the need for orthodontics as an adult, leaving little to no chance of extraction or surgery in the future.
If your child is between the ages of seven and eight and shows signs of needing orthodontic care, or if you have been directed by your family dentist to visit the orthodontist, please contact our practice and schedule an appointment. Our team will provide your child with an initial exam, and discuss with you the best steps to take toward caring for your child's smile.
How will early treatment benefit my child?
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Our early treatment program, 7&Up, is designed for your child! Schedule a free consultation today and join the 7&Up Club