There’s no set age when children should start orthodontic treatment, and different dental concerns should be treated at different stages of development. While your child may not need any orthodontic work done at a young age, it’s important to visit an orthodontist for early prevention as soon as the adult teeth begin forming. While young children aren’t likely to be fitted with braces, certain problems such as jaw and bite alignment are much easier to correct as the bones are still developing.
The American Association of Orthodontics recommends that all children receive an initial orthodontic evaluation by age 7.
During free initial exams, we look at children’s adult tooth development, jaw alignment, bite and facial structure to assess any potential problems. While the chances of your child needing early treatment are small, catching certain issues early is key to successful treatment in many cases. It can also prevent major or untreatable problems from developing down the road. Learn more about our complimentary recall program here.
Early Orthodontic Treatment
While a majority of children only need single-phase orthodontic treatment in their pre-teen or teenage years, some children require early prevention or Phase One treatment. Early orthodontic treatment typically begins around age eight or nine, depending on the child’s dental and skeletal development, and lasts 9–12 months. Early orthodontic treatment may use appliances such as:
This type of treatment corrects developmental problems and is very important to your child’s smile. We provide all patients undergoing Phase One treatment a unique Crest + Oral-B toothbrush package for top-notch oral care. Learn more on our Incentive Programs page.
In almost all cases, Phase One treatment must be followed by Phase Two care between the ages of 11–14. This phase usually takes 1–2 years and addresses problems with the bite that occur as the adult teeth erupt.
Corvallis and Albany children may need early orthodontic treatment to correct problems associated with many conditions including speech impediments, mouth breathing, early or late loss of baby teeth, late thumb sucking and problems with chewing or biting. Phase One orthodontic treatment is useful in correcting:
- Widely spaced teeth
- Crowded front teeth
- Cross bite
- Deep bite
- Protruding teeth (overjet)
Even if your child doesn’t show any signs of orthodontic problems, we strongly encourage regular evaluations at our office. Within a few years, your child’s facial bones stop developing and harden, making treatment of many orthodontic problems difficult or impossible. Advantages of early treatment include:
- Preventing potential injuries
- Promotes normal growth and development of the face and jaw
- Maximizes advantage of growth for treatment
- Improves facial structure and profile
- Boosts self-esteem during adolescence and adulthood
- Encourages patient cooperation at direction of parents
- Reduce or eliminate need for future tooth extraction
- Increases efficiency and effectiveness of treatment
- Lowers risk for more extensive and expensive procedures when child is a teenager or adult
If your child is at the age for an early prevention appointment, please give us a call for a complimentary examination!