Parents in Redlands, CA, are asking, “What is early orthodontic treatment, and does my child need it?” Often, the phrase “orthodontic treatment” brings to mind images of teenagers in braces, so parents may question why the American Association of Orthodontists are recommending that children as young as age seven visit a dentist or orthodontist to determine if they need orthodontic treatment.
Children may need early orthodontic treatment if they have a hard time chewing or biting, sucks their thumb past age five, have protruding teeth, or teeth that don’t come together. Additionally, if children’s jaws shift when they open or close their mouth, if they have speech impediments, or their front teeth are very crowded, the dentist may suggest early orthodontic treatment. These issues can be caused by genetics, trauma to the mouth, thumb sucking habits, or very early, or late, loss of baby teeth.
Early orthodontic treatment is known as Phase One treatment and generally begins when the child is age eight or nine. The purpose of Phase One is to correct the growth of the jaw before it is done growing. This can fix under-bite and over-bite problems. It can also allow the permanent teeth to grow in properly, helping lower the chance of needing to have a tooth, or teeth, extracted in the future.
Phase Two treatment is typically normal orthodontic treatment, with braces placed after all of the permanent teeth are in place. The braces finish correcting alignment issues in the teeth and jaw.
The biggest benefit of undergoing early orthodontic treatment is that it can prevent the need for orthodontics as an adult by correcting the issues that are causing problems to the alignment of the teeth.
If your child is approximately seven years of age, or if you notice any of the issues listed above, call Dr. Terry Vines of Pure Gold Professionals in Dentistry to schedule an early orthodontic evaluation. Dr. Vines and his team of dental professionals are committed to the health of your mouth and your smile. They will work with you to determine the best treatment plan for your child.