The American Association of Orthodontists recommends that children should be evaluated by an orthodontist by the age of 7.
What is early treatment?
Early treatment, often called Phase I, or interceptive orthodontic treatment, is limited orthodontic treatment initiated before all of the permanent teeth have erupted. It is typically started between the ages of six and ten and it usually lasts for one year or less. Early orthodontic treatment often results in a simpler, shorter comprehensive phase of treatment in the future once all of the permanent teeth have erupted. Early treatment presents the opportunity to:
- influence jaw growth
- improve the width of upper and lower dental arches
- correct crossbites, underbites, and deep overbites
- preserve or gain space for permanent teeth
- guide permanent teeth into more favorable positions
- reduce the need to extract permanent teeth in the future
- reduce the likelihood of future permanent teeth impactions
- correct harmful oral habits
- improve airway
- improve self-esteem for kids
Who needs early treatment?
Early treatment does not necessarily benefit all children. Certain types of orthodontic problems can be more easily and efficiently corrected in the teen years after all of the permanent teeth have erupted. Furthermore, some skeletal orthodontic problems should not be addressed until growth is more advanced or completed.
At your complimentary consultation visit, Dr. Fernandez will determine if early treatment is recommended. If early treatment is not necessary, you will be placed in the Kids Club program. We normally see these patients every 6-12 months to observe their progress as they grow. These appointments are very important and help Dr. Fernandez to determine the optimum time to begin treatment and achieve the best possible result for your child.
If a child has early treatment, will this prevent the need for braces as an adolescent?
Early treatment can begin the correction of significant problems, prevent more severe problems from developing, and simplify future treatment. Most of the permanent teeth are still unerupted when early treatment is completed, and consequently, their final alignment may still require correction. Typically, a shortened comprehensive phase of treatment in the teen years, after all the permanent teeth have erupted, completes the correction. However, in some circumstances, further orthodontic treatment may not be needed at all.
Do we still need to see our family dentist during orthodontic treatment?
Patients with braces and other orthodontic appliances require more effort to keep their teeth and gums clean. We want to ensure that the highest level of dental health is maintained and recommend that kids continue to see a pediatric dentist and adults continue to see a general dentist for regular check-ups and cleanings every 6 months.