Article by Dr. Leaver & Dr. Gardner
Many of us remember our teenage years being full of orthodontic appointments, but orthodontics isn’t only for teenagers. People of all ages get orthodontic work done. Although there is never anyone that is too old for orthodontics, there are some real benefits to starting orthodontic treatment young. Leaver & Gardner Orthodontics would like to talk about some of the reasons you want to start thinking about orthodontics for your children sooner rather than later.
WHY ARE EARLY ORTHODONTIC TREATMENTS IMPORTANT?
It’s true that many teenagers have braces to make their smiles beautiful. There are several benefits that come from starting orthodontics early on though. There are three phases of orthodontics that you should think about for your child.
PHASE ONE BRACES & ORTHODONTIC CARE
This phase starts when a child is very young. Around the age of two you need to start considering your child’s mouth. This is a time to prevent bad habits that might result in more orthodontic care than otherwise needed. These habits include thumb sucking, use of pacifiers and drinking from a bottle. Some starter cups are shaped much like a bottle and have the same effect on your baby’s teeth. These habits will actually change the shape of your child’s mouth and end up costing you more money in the end when trying to correct it. Phase one orthodontic treatment can include expansion, active retainer or partial braces that is done before all of the permanent teeth have erupted. It often occurs between the ages of six and ten. Leaver & Gardner recommends Phase one treatment when there is a moderate or severe orthodontic problem that should not wait until later to be addressed.
PHASE TWO BRACES & ORTHODONTIC TREATMENT
Phase two starts between the ages of 6 and 12. As your child loses their primary teeth and permanent teeth start to come in, the orthodontist and dentist can see how the permanent teeth are coming in. At this point, stage two treatment plans can begin to treat any bite or alignment issues. The orthodontist can guide your child’s permanent teeth as they come in to ensure they are in the right position.
PHASE THREE BRACES & ORTHODONTIC CARE
This phase takes place in early adolescence. At this point, there should have already been some orthodontic treatment for early issues and your child’s smile will undergo any fine tuning it needs to attain perfectly aligned teeth.
WHY IS EARLY TREATMENT BETTER THAN LATE ORTHODONTICS?
There are several factors that cause teeth to be misaligned. As a child, their bone structure is still developing and treatment can start. If your child has an underbite or overbite, the likelihood of it being treated with orthodontics alone is greater when the child is young. If you wait too long, there may be a need for surgery along with orthodontics in order to fix it. The results are often far more ideal when treatment takes place at a young age rather than older.
Give your child a head start on the smile that they will want as they get older. A beautiful smile does a lot for a person’s confidence. Often, a person’s smile is the first thing someone notices about you. Don’t hesitate to have your child’s teeth examined at a young age. Leaver & Gardner Orthodontics can make a plan that will fit your child’s needs best. Call for an appointment today!