There are certain conditions that we feel strongly about treating early to make life easier for your little one. These might include things like crossbites, underbites, severely 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 surgery and teeth pulling permanent teeth later in life.
Early prevention starts at age seven, which is when The American Association of Orthodontists recommends parents bring their children to an orthodontist. Don’t freak out, Mom and Dad. This does NOT mean that your 7-year-old needs braces. I repeat, this does NOT mean your 7-year-old needs braces. At this age, permanent teeth have begun to create a bite pattern and can be examined for irregularities such as bite problems and missing or extra teeth.
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 better and other issues can be addressed in the second phase of treatment.
Early treatment between the ages of seven and nine can take advantage of bones that are still growing and better address orthodontic problems before they develop fully. Think of this as the first half of orthodontic treatment, normally lasting only 6-10 months. In a successful phase I treatment, we will reduce the need for permanent teeth being pulled, reduce the risk for possible jaw surgery later in life, and overall make your kiddo’s orthodontic treatment as painless, efficient, and fun (yes, we said FUN!) as possible.
Children who need orthodontics at an early age will go into their 2nd half of treatment once all their permanent teeth are present. This is referred to as two phase treatment. By dividing the treatment into two halves, it allows the orthodontist to correct all the bite and crowding issues in the most efficient and comfortable way for your child. In the 2nd phase of treatment, we will finish the job; correcting and perfecting the alignment and bite problems we could not address in Phase I. If done right, the full treatment is finished before or right at the beginning of high school. No more 80’s-like senior pictures with braces and headgear, YES!
Braces or Invisalign can be worn for varying amounts of time, but are usually kept on for 18-24 months.