Early Orthodontics for Children
The American Association of Orthodontics recommends that all children see an orthodontist at age 7. There are numerous problems that can arise during this key time of growth and development. For example, children can lack sufficient space in their jaw for the proper eruption of their permanent teeth, causing teeth to come in crowded, crooked or misaligned. Children can also have problems with their jaws and with how their jaws fit together. When a child has a moderate or severe orthodontic problem that may hinder the proper growth of permanent teeth or when a child needs orthopedic intervention, early orthodontic treatment may be recommended.
Early orthodontics, also known as Phase 1 or early interceptive treatment, may include treatments such as palatal expansion, active retainers, or partial braces when a child is between the ages of 6 and 10 years old. These treatments take place before all of a child’s permanent teeth come in and may last anywhere from 9 to 18 months. The aim of early orthodontic treatment is to prevent dental trauma, permanent tooth removal, or even jaw surgery down the road.
At TLC for Smiles, we will only recommend early orthodontic treatments if it is deemed absolutely necessary for the benefit of your child’s permanent orthodontic health in the future.
There are a number of reasons why early orthodontics may be recommended, including:
- When a child’s jaw is too small to accommodate the proper eruption of permanent teeth
- When the upper or lower jaw is growing too much or not enough
- When early correction may lead to the prevention of dental trauma, tooth extractions or jaw surgery
- When the orthodontic condition is so severe that, if left untreated, it would lead to problems that even braces can’t fix
Early orthodontics can be an investment in the long-term health and proper growth of a child’s permanent teeth down the road.
Some of the many benefits of early orthodontics include:
- Promotes of proper jaw alignment and growth
- Reserves space for permanent teeth
- Eliminates or lessens in the need for permanent tooth extraction or jaw surgery
- Shortens orthodontic treatment time during Phase II
- Improves speech development
- Corrects problematic dental habits
- Improves appearance and self-confidence
Once a child’s permanent teeth have fully erupted, Phase II treatment, which may include full braces or Invisalign, begins. Thanks to the preliminary dental care provided during Phase I, however, the treatment time for Phase II is significantly reduced.
If your child is between the ages of six and 10 years old and may be in need of early orthodontic treatment, contact our office at 818-360-2131 or fill out our appointment form to schedule your child’s next appointment with us.