While braces are usually worn between the ages of 10 and 14, it is generally recommended that a child’s first orthodontic consultation takes place when they are 7 years old and still have a mix of baby teeth and permanent teeth. At Grand Dental – Wilmington, we offer Phase 1 orthodontic treatment that can correct alignment issues in your child’s teeth and jaws early, allowing them to avoid more complex care later in life and potentially reducing the amount of time that they would need to wear braces in the future. Contact our office today if your child is around the correct age for Phase 1 treatments.
Around age 7, the teeth and jaws have progressed far enough in their development that it is possible to identify problems with their development, such as irregular jaw growth or a misaligned bite. For this reason, the American Association of Orthodontists recommends scheduling an orthodontic consultation around this age. If any problems are found, it is best to address them right away with a Phase 1 orthodontic treatment; it is much easier to make the necessary changes to the jaw while it’s still in its early developmental phases.
Not every child needs Phase 1 orthodontic care, and the only way to tell if it is truly necessary is to have their mouth examined by an oral health expert. Sometimes the symptoms indicating a need for orthodontic intervention might be found during a routine dental checkup and cleaning. There are also several warning signs that parents might catch on their own, with common examples including:
It is important to remember that not all of these symptoms will occur in every child that needs Phase 1 orthodontics. Hence, noticing just one of them is reason enough to schedule an appointment.
A Phase 1 treatment plan needs to be customized based on the child’s needs. As such, different orthodontic appliances may be recommended depending on the situation. Some children need to wear an expander on their upper palate in order to create sufficient room for their adult teeth. Others might need a device called a space maintainer to stop adjacent teeth from drifting into the empty space left by a baby tooth that fell out too early. Braces are sometimes part of Phase 1 treatment, although they are only worn for a short amount of time.
The average treatment time for Phase 1 orthodontics is around 10 to 14 months. Once it is complete, the growth and development of the child’s mouth will be closely monitored to determine whether Phase II orthodontics are necessary.