Early Orthodontic Treatment
More and more of our clients are asking about orthodontic treatment for their children. The American Association of Orthodontists stated recently that orthodontic treatment should generally start around the age of 7. This does not mean that patients will definitely need treatment at this age, however it might be a good time for us to evaluate your child’s existing and incoming teeth, to be able to recommend if early treatment is necessary.
What is Phase 1?
Early orthodontic treatment, known as Phase 1, typically occurs when the child is 8 or 9 years old. At this phase, it might be a critical time to correct bite problems, as well as guide the jaw’s growth pattern. Additionally, there are circumstances where we need to make room in the mouth for permanent teeth as they come in, reducing the risk of needing extractions later in life due to teeth crowding.
Determine if early orthodontic treatment is needed
Personally, I believe that early treatment is not indicated for most patients. However, it can be beneficial for some patients who have severe dental and skeletal conditions. The following are some methods of determining if early orthodontic treatment might be needed for your child. Give Pine Smiles a call to receive a consultation if you find any of these occurrences in your child.
- Front teeth are quite crowded.
- Protruding front teeth.
- Early loss of baby teeth before the age of 5.
- Your child’s teeth do not meet properly or at all.
- Chewing and/or Biting difficulties.
- Shifting jaw when opens / closes mouth
- The child is older than five years and still sucks a thumb
It is important to have an orthodontist evaluate and monitor your child's growth in order to determine when would be an ideal time to receive orthodontic treatment. At Pine Smiles, we have a special monitoring program in which every young patient is observed regularly, free of charge. If early orthodontic treatment is ultimately needed, it might enable your child to avoid lengthy procedures, extraction, and surgery later in life, laying the foundation for a healthy, stable mouth.
If you still have questions about early orthodontic treatment, please feel free to contact Dr. Kim at (909) 393-4800.