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Children & Early Treatment

We feel strongly that all children should have an orthodontic evaluation by age 7.  We have found that correcting certain orthodontic problems at an earlier age helps us achieve the best orthodontic result.  Problems with jaw size, tooth crowding, missing permanent teeth, adverse bites are oftent best treated when patients are young and actively growing.

What are the benefits of early orthodontic evaluation?

Early evaluation provides both timely detection of problems and greater opportunity for more effective treatment. Prudent intervention guides growth and development, preventing serious problems later. When orthodontic intervention is not necessary, an orthodontist can carefully monitor growth and development and begin treatment when it is ideal.

What is the difference between Phase I and Phase II treatment?

Phase I

When a child is seen at an earlier age, many things can be accomplished! Extraction of permanent teeth can be avoided in the vast majority of cases. Skeletal (jaw) problems need to be addressed early in development in order to obtain the best result. This allows us to achieve an excellent profile, avoiding a flattened profile and thinning lips. Not all patients require Phase I treatment. Phase I treatment lasts approximately 6-10 months after which there is a “resting” phase. During this time, the child is monitored for facial development and permanent tooth eruption approximately every 4-6 months. When all of the permanent teeth are just about erupted, it will be decided if Phase II is necessary.

Phase II

Phase II consists of placing braces on all permanent teeth. Two-phase orthodontics is planned to obtain the best possible treatment results. Phase II treatment may last approximately 12-20 months and is designed to create the most aesthetic and functional occlusion (bite). Phase II treatment should not be considered doing orthodontics again, rather a continuation and finish to the earlier accomplishments.

What are the advantages of interceptive treatment?

Some of the most direct results of interceptive treatment are:

  • Creating room for crowded, erupting teeth
  • Creating facial symmetry through influencing jaw growth
  • Reducing the risk of trauma to protruding front teeth
  • Preserving space for unerupted teeth
  • Reducing the need for tooth removal
  • Reducing treatment time with braces

Why should malocclusions be treated?

According to studies by the American Association of Orthodontists, untreated malocclusions can result in a variety of problems:

  • Crowded teeth are more difficult to properly brush and floss, which may contribute to tooth decay and/or gum disease.
  • Protruding teeth are more susceptible to accidental chipping.
  • Crossbites can result in unfavorable growth and uneven tooth wear.
  • Openbites can result in tongue-thrusting habits and speech impediments.

Ultimately, orthodontics does more than make a pretty smile – it creates a healthier you.