Early Orthodontics

Braces at 7? Seriously? Just keep reading…

There are certain conditions that may qualify a child for early prevention orthodontics. These might include things like crossbites, 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 teeth pulling 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. 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.

Phase one treatment, early treatment between the ages of seven and nine, can also take advantage of bones that are still growing and better address problems before they develop fully.

Two Phase treatment may include the use of expanders and other appliances, metal braces or even Invisalign!

You might consider taking your child to an orthodontist for early prevention if:

  • They have trouble breaking a thumb-sucking habit
  • A speech impediment exists
  • Your child’s jaw comes together in an abnormal way when they bite
  • Your child’s teeth do not come together, or do so in an irregular manner
  • There is an issue with breathing
  • Teeth protrude from the upper or lower jaw
  • Your child has problems with chewing and biting
  • Your child loses their baby teeth too early or too late (they should start losing teeth at age 5 and have their adult teeth by 13)

Two Phase Treatment

Typically children who need orthodontics at an early age will need another round of treatment once all of the permanent teeth are present. This is referred to as two phase treatment. By dividing the treatment into two different parts, it allows the orthodontist to correct all problems that contribute to overall function of the mouth and teeth.

Typically, between the phase one and phase two treatment, there is a rest period.

Phase Two:

The second phase of treatment is used to tweak and correct any problems that could not be addressed or fixed by the first phase of treatment. It usually occurs after all permanent teeth have developed and acquired a place within the mouth.

Braces can be worn for varying amounts of time, but are usually kept on for 18-24 months. Once removed, a retainer is made to keep the teeth where they are supposed to be.

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