What is the difference between early orthodontic treatment and regular orthodontic treatment?
Why might my child need early treatment?
How will early treatment benefit my child in the long run?
We receive a lot of questions like this from parents and caregivers who want to learn more about the benefits 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.
Early treatment, or Phase One, typically begins around age eight or nine. Phase Two will begin around age 11 or older. The goal of early treatment is to correct the growth of the jaw and certain bite problems, such as underbite. Early treatment also helps to make room for permanent teeth to come in properly, lessening the chance of extractions in the future.
Orthodontic problems can be inherited or caused by injury to the mouth, early or late loss of baby teeth, or thumb-sucking habits.
Early treatment is beneficial because it’s easier to adjust a developing child’s teeth than a grown adult’s. Most children lose all their baby teeth by age 13, and by the end of their teen years, the jaw bones will harden and stop growing. Orthodontic procedures for adults often take more time and can involve tooth extraction or oral surgery. Receiving early orthodontic treatment as a child can help prevent the need for orthodontics as an adult, leaving little to no chance of extraction or surgery in the future.
If your child is between the ages of seven and eight and shows signs of needing orthodontic care, or if you have been directed by your family dentist to visit an orthodontist, please contact our practice and schedule an appointment. Our team will provide your child with an initial exam and discuss with you the best steps to take toward caring for your child's smile.