About Early Treatment
What is Early Treatment?
These are just a few of the questions surrounding the topic of early orthodontic treatment for children. The American Association of Orthodontists recommends that children see an orthodontist as early as age seven. At this point the orthodontist will evaluate whether your child will need orthodontic treatment.
Many problems with your child’s bite are easier to correct if they are found and treated early. While teeth may appear straight, there could be a condition that only an orthodontist would detect. Early treatment may prevent more serious problems from developing or may make treatment at a later age shorter and less complicated. Some other benefits of early treatment include guiding jaw growth, lowering the risk of trauma to protruded front teeth, and providing more space for permanent teeth.
Does My Child Need Early Treatment?
Early treatment or Phase One typically begins around age eight or nine (Phase Two begins around 11+). The goal of early treatment is to correct the growth of the jaw and certain bite problems, such as underbite, or other problems here.
Early or late loss of baby teeth. Your child should typically start losing teeth around age five, and will have all permanent teeth around age 13.
Mouth / Speech Issues
This could include difficulty chewing and/or biting, mouth breathing, or speech impediments. If your child continues sucking his or her thumb after age five, this could also mean they require orthodontic care.
They could have protruding teeth (the top teeth and the bottom teeth extend away from each other), teeth that don’t come together in a normal manner or even at all, or crowded front teeth around age seven or eight.
Shifting of the jaw when your child opens or closes his or her mouth (crossbites).
Types of Early Treatment
There is no one choice for everybody so make sure you get evaluated and talk to your orthodontist about which type of treatment is best for your particular situation.
Metal braces are made of high-quality, durable stainless steel. They are the most common type of braces. The brackets, which are bonded to the front of each tooth, are connected by the archwire, which helps guide the teeth into the correct positions.
There are many good reasons why time-tested metal braces remain popular — they offer a reliable, effective and economical treatment option. In contrast to the appliances of the past, today’s braces are actually smaller, lighter, and more comfortable to wear. If you want a less traditional look, you may choose colorful elastics for the brackets!
Ceramic braces move teeth just as efficiently as metal braces, except the brackets are clear, so they are less noticeable. Patient must practice good oral hygiene to prevent discoloration.
The technology is constantly improving and their aesthetic appeal is undeniable… but there are a few tradeoffs. The ceramic brackets can be less durable than their metal counterparts; plus, while the brackets themselves don’t stain, the elastic bands that attach them to the archwire do (however, these are generally changed each month.)
Invisalign First utilizes clear aligners instead of traditional brackets, wires, and other appliances. This, in the hands of our doctors, can be used to treat a broad range of issues in growing children. The best part – the treatment is more comfortable and your little ones can keep their teeth much cleaner throughout the process.
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Early Treatment FAQs
How can I tell if my child needs orthodontic treatment?
The American Association of Orthodontists recommends children first be seen by an orthodontist at age 7. This is when the first adult teeth typically begin erupting.
Many times tooth or bite issues can be more comfortably corrected at a younger age and that allows for healthier growth and development. For example, in cases of severe crowding an early treatment can help to eliminate the need for future extraction of permanent teeth.
Our doctors review every individual and if possible will wait until all of the adult teeth have erupted to recommend comprehensive orthodontic treatment.
Will I need to have any teeth extracted?
If your teeth are severely crowded (because your mouth is too small to properly accommodate all of them) — or if you have impacted teeth (teeth that are trapped beneath the gum line by other teeth) — then extraction may be necessary. In the case of younger patients, early treatment may make extraction unnecessary. Each case will be evaluated individually so that the best decision can be made for each patient.
How long will treatment take?
It’s different for each person, but generally the active stage of treatment (that is, wearing braces or other appliances) may take from 6-30 months. After that, a retainer is worn for at least several months more.
How can I recognize a potential bite problem?
Teeth that are protruding, crowded together or erupting out of position are clear indications that treatment is needed. Less obvious signs are mouth breathing, frequent biting of the cheek or palate, speech difficulties, and thumb sucking that goes past 3-4 years of age. If teeth don’t meet properly when the mouth closes, or if jaw makes a sound or shifts as it moves, this may also indicate an orthodontic problem.
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