Early Treatment With Braces For Kids
At What Age Should My Child See An Orthodontist?
According to the American Association of Orthodontists, seven years old is the perfect age for a child’s first orthodontic screening—about the same time many kids get their first adult molars. Why so young, you ask? Because at that age, it is easier to correct any concerning issues while the mouth is still growing and the body can adapt to changes. In most cases, you can prevent relatively simple problems from turning into major ordeals by intervening with early orthodontic treatment, also known as Phase I Treatment.
Early orthodontic screening also leaves room for planning. Whether or not a child receives immediate treatment, the doctors at Labbe Family Orthodontics can start to monitor your child’s development by scheduling regular and timely appointments. For example, we may ask you to come in every 6-8 months for one of our doctors to give a thorough oral exam. This way, we can administer the right treatment at the right time, allowing the child will get the most out of it. Don’t worry… there is no charge until the actual treatment begins.
Plus, we have FUN! We love getting to know our families and building relationships! We go above and beyond to make sure that your child has a memorable, comfortable, and enjoyable orthodontic journey.
When Is Early Intervention Or Phase I Treatment Necessary?
There are a few stand-out reasons that Phase I treatment would be beneficial. For example, if the patient has:
- A crossbite
- An underbite
- Thumb or finger sucking habit
- Consistent mouth breathing
- An overbite or overjet
- Severe crowding of the teeth
- Prematurely loss of baby teeth or missing permanent teeth
- A tongue thrust
Our goal is to prevent the extraction of permanent teeth. With Phase I treatment, we are often able to create the room necessary or correct the issues that would warrant extractions.
What Is The Average Treatment Time For Phase I Treatment?
Typically, treatment time for Phase I is about a year. If the patient is cooperative, has good hygiene, and takes care of the appliances, treatment will go smoothly, and the necessary corrections can be made in 12 – 15 months. After active Phase I treatment, a retainer is worn to maintain arch width and hold the teeth in place while the permanent teeth are erupting. What’s really cool is that we can see our “Resting Phase” patients while they are at home using our latest “Dental Monitoring” technology. This saves you time and trips to the office by monitoring growth and development remotely.
Life With Braces
The goal of braces is to work to correct and improve your child’s smile function, health, and appearance while blending in with their active lifestyle. While there is a short adjustment period, we find that most of our younger patients adapt to wearing their braces faster than our adult patients!
During this adjustment phase, your child may experience some temporary soreness and discomfort as their mouth adjusts to their teeth beginning to shift and having a new appliance in their mouth. However, this soreness can be relieved by eating soft foods and taking an over-the-counter pain reliever, if needed. We will also give your child braces wax to apply over any areas that may be causing irritation to the inside of the lips.
Throughout treatment, it will be imperative that your child understand how to properly care for their braces. Avoiding any hard, sticky, and chewy foods that could damage or break the brackets and wires is key to preventing unnecessary emergency trips to our office. Additionally, it is important to remind your child that they can’t skimp on dental hygiene. Thoroughly brushing and flossing regularly, especially after meals, helps to ensure that their teeth stay bright and clean during treatment.