Timing is everything-even when it comes to your child's orthodontic treatment. Though an orthodontist can enhance a smile at any age, there is an optimal time period to begin your child's early intervention treatment. At little smiles our goal is to provide both timely detection of problems and greater opportunity for more effective treatment to benefit your child.
Your Child's First Orthodontist visit: When should your child visit an Orthodontist?
Orthodontics can play a huge role in young children’s appearance and health. In fact, the American Association of orthodontics recommends that an orthodontist examine a child’s teeth by the time they are 7 years old, even while baby teeth are still in the mouth. At Little Smiles we can help identify bite issues at an early age and will refer your child to our orthodontist at the appropriate time. While your child’s teeth may look straight, there may be underlying problems with the way adult teeth erupt, a misaligned bite, the relationship of the upper and lower jaw, tooth crowding, or problems due to thumb sucking and other habits.
At Little Smiles our orthodontist can pinpoint these and start correcting them to avoid potential problems for future adult teeth and by age 7, enough permanent teeth have emerged for your orthodontist to evaluate relationships developing between teeth, jaw and bite and make sure all will continue to develop as they should.
Phase-one of early orthodontic treatment: interceptive Orthodontics
Many children require the guidance of dental and facial development as a first phase of orthodontic treatment. Interceptive orthodontics also known as early treatment, preventative or phase one treatment, typically begins around age 7, while your child still has most of their primary or baby teeth. This interceptive orthodontic treatment helps prevent severe problems later on, and gives an orthodontist control over where the permanent teeth come in by addressing the structure of the jaw and teeth while baby teeth are still in the mouth.
By age 7, your child’s mouth has grown and has enough sound structure to know how it will develop as the permanent teeth start to emerge. Our pediatric dentist and orthodontics goal is to treat certain bites issues at an early age, while your child is still growing. If certain problems are treated at this earlier stage, our orthodontist can reduce the possibility of needing more severe treatment options in the future. This is all commonly known as phase-one or interceptive orthodontics.
Benefits to early intervention: phase-one
- Determine a better prognosis for how the permanent teeth will develop
- Correct habits such as thumb sucking or tongue pushing
- Correct bite problems, open bite, cross bite or deep bite
- Guide the growth of the jaw to accommodate emerging teeth
- Lower the risk of damage to any protruding teeth
- Create a more pleasing and functional arrangement of teeth, lips and face
- Alleviate future and possibly more invasive, dental correction
- Improve your child’s appearance and self-esteem
First phase treatment is initiated to prevent a problem from developing, intercept any developing problems and to guide the growth of the jaw bones that support the teeth known as growth modification. Without phase-one treatment our orthodontist has determined that your child's problem, if left alone, will create an unhealthy environment for the growth development of your child's teeth, gums, jaws, and face.
Your child's treatment will be timed to predictable stages of dental development to provide the greatest potential for improvement and correction of your child's bite. We believe that most patients will require a second phase of treatment, often with traditional braces, to complete the tooth and jaw alignment that was started during the first phase treatment.
Introducing your child's second phase in orthodontic treatment
Remembering phase-one as we previously mentioned, a first phase of treatment is done while the child has many or most of their primary or "baby" teeth. Phase-two typically takes place when your child has most of all their permanent teeth. This phase in orthodontic treatment and a child's growth are meant to complement each other. Phase-two treatment moves permanent teeth into their final position, correct minor bite issues, and continue to increase your child's self-esteem.
Our goals of phase-two treatment is to establish a proper relationship of teeth and jaws, so that they work correctly, correct alignment of the teeth for a beautiful smile, and position the teeth and jaws for an attractive face and profile. By timing treatment to stages of dental development, our orthodontics can take advantage of your child's oral growth and development. Problems that can be treated in a growing child in time may alleviate more drastic and invasive procedures needed later.
We understand orthodontic treatment is not for everyone. Each patient has a unique problem that requires a unique treatment plan. What is right for one child may not be right for another.
Simple ways that your child may require early orthodontics treatment
- Open bite
- Deep bites
- Cross bites
- Teeth that don't emerge in the right sequence
- Missing teeth
- Thumb, finger, or pacifier, sucking that is affecting the teeth or jaw growth
- Ankylosed teeth: a condition where the tooth stops erupting and stays in the same place, causing the permanent tooth to be displaced upon emergence.
Whether or not our orthodontist determines that your child needs braces, you will get the peace of mind that early detection and potential treatment will result in a lifelong smile for your child!
Early orthodontics intervention can benefits your child during growing and developing of the teeth and bones. Your child may not need orthodontic treatment immediately, yet a consultation from our Little Smiles team can inform you how an we can help your child, if future treatment is necessary. By been inform, about the specifics need of your child, you will have peace of mind knowing the steps to follow to maintain a lifelong smiles for your child! Feel free to call and speak directly to us to schedule your free consultation!