Early Orthodontic Treatment
When you think of big milestones in your child’s life, you may think of the day your baby got his first tooth, or years later when he lost a tooth and would carefully place it under the pillow for the Tooth Fairy.
But there is another milestone many parents don’t realize. The American Association of Orthodontists recommends children visit an orthodontist by age 7 to spot any problems with jaw growth and emerging teeth. When orthodontic problems are corrected early, it’s more likely your child can avoid the need for extensive future treatment.
It’s called Phase I Treatment, interceptive orthodontic treatment, or early orthodontic treatment, and is designed for kids ages 6 to 10. It takes place while the child has a mix of baby teeth and permanent teeth and helps to properly form the jaw and allow the erupting permanent teeth to be guided into the proper position.
Phase I Treatment
Phase I Treatment can help correct crossbites, underbites, deep bites, open bites, and protrusive incisors. It can also correct the damage caused by bad habits like thumb sucking, which can cause a child to have buck teeth and other malocclusions (problems with a person’s bite). Your orthodontist may recommend your child use a habit appliance to break a bad habit like thumb sucking, sucking on a blanket, or sucking too hard on an upper or lower lip.
Other types of appliances, such as palatal expanders, help to expand the jaw or, in the case of crowded teeth, help to open the bite and make room for the permanent teeth that are coming in. There are also appliances that do the opposite: if the teeth are spaced too far apart, the appliances can help close the bite.
Learn more about palatal expanders
Benefits of Phase I Treatment
Phase I Treatment usually lasts 12 to 18 months and can shorten or eliminate the amount of time your child may need braces once all the permanent teeth have erupted. Best of all, it places the teeth in a more stable position and can prevent bigger orthodontic problems from developing.
Call us today for a free orthodontic consultation. After speaking to one of our experienced orthodontists, you’ll have a better understanding of how we can help you achieve the best possible smile.
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