The American Association of Orthodontics recommends that your child’s first appointment with an orthodontist be around the age of 7. While anyone at any age can have successful orthodontic treatment to achieve a beautiful, healthy, and straight smile, because the jaws of young children are still growing, it can be easier to correct issues such as tooth crowding. Another benefit of early treatment is that we can guide the permanent teeth into their proper positions, decreasing the chance of extractions in the future. Sometimes children as young as 6 or 7 can begin orthodontic treatment, and while we won’t always recommend treatment at this age, for some children, this is the perfect time to begin. When very young children receive orthodontic treatment, it is called interceptive orthodontics.
What do I need to know about early orthodontic treatment?
Braces for kids have improved in leaps and bounds over the last few decades — they are much more comfortable than they once were and, dare we say it, braces can even be fun. When you and your child meet with Dr. Stevens for a consultation, he can recommend the type of orthodontic treatment that is best for your child.
What is one-phase treatment?
The most common age for beginning one-phase orthodontic treatment is between the ages of 11 and 15. At this age, many other children are undergoing orthodontic treatment and patients are often more willing to wear braces along with their peers. Also, children of this age are developing rapidly, and orthodontists can utilize this growth to correct common orthodontic issues such as malocclusions, crowded teeth, spaces between the teeth, bad bites, etc.
What is two-phase treatment?
Two-phase orthodontic treatment consists of two separate times when a child receives orthodontic treatment. In general, this type of treatment is recommended when children are showing certain signs of orthodontic at an early age, such as protruding teeth, speech impediments, thumb-sucking, and difficulty chewing.
There is a resting period after phase one treatment when the orthodontist carefully monitors your child’s developing growth and tooth eruption. After phase one and the resting period, an additional treatment with braces may be recommended for your child — this is called phase two. The team at Braces Omaha will keep you completely informed along the way.
- Phase one of early orthodontic treatment frequently begins when children are 7–10 years of age. In general, only the front teeth and back molars are adult teeth at this time.
- The goal of phase one treatment is to create an optimal environment for your child’s permanent teeth as they emerge.
- Braces or other appliances, such as a palatal expander, may be used to correct underbites, crossbites, or other progressive problems.
- If two-phase treatment is recommended but not completed, there is a risk of creating an unhealthy environment for the growth and development of the child’s permanent teeth, gums, jaws, and facial structure.
- The second phase of early orthodontic treatment begins once all the permanent teeth have erupted.
- The goal of this phase is to move the permanent teeth into their final positions.
Dr. Stevens has many years of experience assessing the orthodontic needs of young children. We like to eliminate the need for extensive orthodontic work and/or oral surgery in your child’s future, so Braces Omaha provides our youngest patients with treatment options that prevent the development of these more difficult and complex problems. Please give our Omaha, NE, practice a call to schedule a consultation with Dr. Stevens so that you can find out if your child is ready to begin his/her orthodontic treatment.
Does my child need early orthodontic treatment?
The best way to discover if your child will require early orthodontic care is to give us a call. Dr. Stevens will determine your child’s specific orthodontic needs and create a customized treatment plan for them. Early orthodontic treatment can have a positive lifelong impact on your child’s oral health, dental development, and smile, and for each child, there is an ideal time to begin.
Some of the signs that your child may be a candidate for early orthodontic treatment are
- Early or late loss of baby teeth (children usually lose their first baby tooth around age 5 and have all their permanent teeth around age 13)
- Difficulty chewing and/or biting
- Mouth breathing
- Continued thumb-sucking after age 5
- Speech impediments
- Protruding teeth
- Malocclusion (crossbite, overbite, underbite)
- Crowded front teeth around age 7 or 8
If you have concerns about your child’s dental development, or your child is experiencing one or more of the above signs, we hope that you will give our practice in Omaha, NE, a call so that we can schedule a consultation for your child with Dr. Stevens. We look forward to guiding you through the process of orthodontic care.
Early Orthodontic Treatment in Omaha, NE
The team at Braces Omaha would like to welcome you and your child to our practice. For your complimentary consultation with Dr. Stevens, please contact us. As always, we are available to answer any questions you may have — no question is too small! We appreciate your trust and thank you for the opportunity to provide your family with the very best orthodontic care available in Omaha and beyond.