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We are happy to answer questions about our services and procedures.
These are a selection of some common questions that patients have. If your question isn't answered here, please contact our office. It's important to us that our patients understand their dental care.
Years ago, orthodontic treatment was only for kids over the age of 11 or 12. But today’s orthodontists now treat children as young as eight years old. Called interceptive, or phase I orthodontics, braces in early childhood can reduce time in braces later on and correct problems before they become more serious.
Children’s baby teeth have a big impact on the health of their permanent teeth. That’s why it’s so important to catch major issues with baby teeth before permanent teeth erupt!
Since kids can start dental exams as soon as their first tooth comes in, your dentist or orthodontic specialist can track any issues that may warrant phase I orthodontics. A consultation at around age seven with an orthodontic specialist will evaluate your child for these conditions:
- Difficulty chewing or speaking
- Missing or diseased baby teeth
- Wide gaps between teeth
- Severe overcrowding
- Mouth breathing
- Protruding teeth
- Severe bite issues
- Problems with jaw, facial, or teeth symmetry
If your child needs phase I orthodontics, treatment may begin at age eight and may continue in a less invasive, phase II treatment. Dentists use a variety of treatments with young children, which may include both removable and non-removable appliances, such as space maintainers, bands, palatal expanders, and braces.
Orthodontics is the branch of dentistry focused on aligning teeth and correcting the bite. Orthodontic treatment is typically recommended for children around the ages of 10 to 13 years when all of their permanent adult teeth have come in.
However, some kids can benefit from early orthodontic treatment divided into phases called interceptive orthodontics, which takes place earlier around the ages of seven to 10 years old. This type of treatment is ideal for children who suffer from:
- Crowded teeth or a narrow jaw
- Severe overbite, underbite, or crossbite
- Complications from thumb or pacifier use
Interceptive orthodontics uses a variety of different treatments that can include placing brackets and wires, using a space maintainer or other oral appliance, or a combination of both. The goal is to utilize the child's growth to make room for adult teeth or correct bite alignment issues during the ideal time. Achieving these goals can often be much harder when growth has ceased. Interceptive orthodontics also makes the following phase of orthodontic treatment, which is typically just brackets and wires to align teeth, much more simple and straightforward.
Your pediatric dentist will watch your son or daughter's oral development so they can discuss any concerns or recommendations for interceptive orthodontics with you in a timely manner.