When Should My Child See an Orthodontist?
Following the recommendations of the American Association of Orthodontists (AAO), Foothills Pediatric Dentistry & Orthodontics recommends children see an orthodontist no later than age seven or at the first recognition of an orthodontic problem. Because this is the age where children start to have a mix of both baby and permanent teeth, it is important to check the health of your child’s bite and how their teeth are developing. Our pediatric orthodontist, Dr. Evan, can evaluate where your child is at in development and use this to predict any possible issues that may arise at a later age.
What to Expect
An initial examination involves an assessment of the size and position of your child’s teeth and jawbones. Overcrowded teeth can cause discomfort in your child’s mouth while impacting the appearance of their smile. In addition, an irregular bite can make it hard for your child to speak or chew properly.
Even if your child’s teeth appear straight, they could have underlying problems such as limited spacing, a gummy smile, or bite alignment issues. Even if they don’t begin treatment right away, your child’s first orthodontic appointment is important to improving their oral health and identifying potential problems early.
Benefits of Early Treatment
Early orthodontic checkups will give your child the best chance for a healthy smile. A child’s orthodontic treatment takes place in two phases:
Phase 1 Treatment
Children with a mix of baby teeth and permanent teeth can receive orthodontic care. Early treatment provides the opportunity to intervene before your child’s teeth fully develop. Dr. Evan will recommend the best treatment to correct the developing problems before starting more comprehensive treatment.
Treatment can also help permanent teeth properly align during development and eruption. A child’s jawbone does not start to solidify in shape until their teenage years. Since a child’s bones remain pliable, orthodontic treatments can produce faster results..
Phase 2 Treatment
After completing Phase 1 treatment between the ages of seven to ten, followed by a rest period, patients needing further treatment move on to Phase 2. Phase 2 involves aligning the teeth using braces for kids, retainers, and expansion appliances. Replacement of missing teeth and removal of out-of-position teeth can also occur during this stage.
Phase 2 orthodontic treatment generally lasts between 12 and 20 months. However, the treatment duration depends on the severity of the issues needing correction.
Life With Braces
Choosing the right braces for your child depends on his or her goals and comfort level. It is important to consider your child’s priorities when weighing options, as we’ve found that they will be more responsive to treatment when they feel fully included. Other factors to consider include durability, ease of maintenance, and aesthetic preference.
Metal braces remain the most popular type of braces for kids. Fortunately, newer technology makes them more comfortable to wear. Although today’s braces still use metal wires and brackets, the hardware is significantly smaller and less bulky, giving a more refined appearance.
Patients often choose ceramic braces because of their discreet and natural appearance. Ceramic braces consist of brackets made to blend in with the natural tooth color.
While just as effective, ceramic braces are known to be less durable than metal braces, so it is important to consider how well your child will be able to care for their appliances before deciding on this option.
Why Choose Us?
At Foothills Pediatric Dentistry & Orthodontics, we strive to make straightening your child’s teeth as comfortable and fun as possible. Our team evaluates your child’s needs and develops an orthodontic treatment plan to fit those unique needs and help your child achieve their best and brightest smile.