What is early orthodontics, and can it help your child's smile?

What Is Early Orthodontics?

You may have heard a parent talk about how their child has just started orthodontic treatment at the age of eight. How can that be? After all, aren’t kids that age a little young to be starting treatment, especially if they still have their baby teeth? Well, not exactly. You see, early orthodontics seeks to address issues that can impact your child as they grow older. Taking care of problems early can also make the treatment shorter and less invasive than it might be if you wait. So, what is early orthodontics? Let’s find out.

About Early Orthodontic Treatment

For children who may need a little extra help correcting their orthodontic issue, orthodontists may recommend early orthodontic treatment. This is typically advised for children starting at age 7, and is also referred to as Phase One treatment. In Phase One, the ultimate goal is to correct the issues affecting jaw growth and their bite. In correcting more severe issues in Phase One, it helps Phase Two to be more effective. Phase One can also allow more room for the permanent teeth to erupt properly, helping to avoid crowding issues in the future.

Who Needs Early Orthodontics?

This type of treatment is advised for children who may be exhibiting certain behaviors, including:

  • Difficulty with biting and chewing
  • Premature or late loss of baby teeth
  • Speech problems
  • Bite issues
  • Jaw abnormalities

If you notice your child is having difficulty with some common everyday tasks or if they are complaining about pain in the jaw, it may be time to see an orthodontist regarding early orthodontic treatment. Often times, an expander will be recommended to help widen the dental arch, so the top and bottom jaws line up properly.

Benefits of Early Orthodontics

At a certain age, jaw growth will cease and the bones will set, making it more difficult to correct these problems later on. This is why your child should see an orthodontist by age seven, so issues like these can be corrected and not affect your child as they go through their teen and adult years. As we age, jaw abnormalities can cause serious issues with the way we talk, eat and perform certain tasks.

Phase One treatment can help address these issues early, so when your child is ready to move on to Phase Two, they can have an easier time achieving that perfect smile. In some cases, if a child undergoes Phase One orthodontic treatment, it can shorten the duration of Phase Two treatment. It’s important to note every situation is unique, so treatment time will vary from patient to patient.

So remember, although you may think seven years of age is too young to start orthodontic treatment, it can really help when it comes to structural abnormalities in the mouth. If you’re unsure whether or not your child needs a little extra help, contact your orthodontist for a proper diagnosis.

At The Smile Store, our team is ready to help your child on their path to a beautiful and healthy smile.