Orthodontic treatment for your child is vital for their long-term health, self-esteem, and success in life. Studies consistently show that a confident smile leaves a positive impression in social and professional encounters. By investing in their smile, you provide them with an opportunity to make a lasting first impression.
Most children will require a single phase of full braces once their adult teeth have erupted (around age 12). The average treatment duration for full braces is 18 to 24 months.
In some cases, early orthodontic intervention (Phase One Treatment) may be necessary between the ages of 7 and 10 years. This is followed by full braces (Phase Two Treatment) when all permanent teeth have emerged, typically around age 12. Early treatment helps create space for permanent teeth, correct harmful habits, and promote optimal bite and function as the remaining adult teeth develop.
But how can you, as a concerned parent, determine if your child needs Early (Phase I) Orthodontic Treatment?
Dr. Tsibel’s approach to early orthodontic treatment is based on appropriateness and necessity, avoiding unnecessary over-treatment.
The American Association of Orthodontists (AAO) recommends screening children for orthodontic problems by age 7, and Dr. Tsibel supports this guideline. While two-phase treatment can yield remarkable results when needed, recent research suggests that some orthodontic issues can be effectively treated in a single phase around age 12, simplifying the process and reducing costs.
During your child’s consultation, Dr. Tsibel will provide honest recommendations on whether early orthodontic treatment in two phases is necessary. In our practice, we recommend two-phase treatment for younger patients in about 30% of cases.
First Orthodontic Screening at AGE 7!
The American Association of Orthodontists (AAO) recommends an orthodontic evaluation by age 7 to assess potential orthodontic problems. Dr. Tsibel can examine your child’s dental and skeletal development, advising on the ideal treatment timing. While most children won’t need immediate treatment, Dr. Tsibel will provide complimentary monitoring until they’re ready.
By age 7, adult molars have erupted, establishing the back bite. An orthodontist can evaluate tooth and jaw relationships, detecting issues like crowding, overbite, underbite, or misalignment. A referral from a dentist isn’t required for evaluation. Contact our office for a complimentary consultation.
Early orthodontic treatment may be recommended if your child experiences the following:
- Early or late loss of baby teeth
- Difficulty chewing or biting
- Mouth breathing
- Thumb or finger sucking
- Crowded, misplaced, or blocked teeth
- Protrusion of upper front teeth
- Underbites or crossbites
- Shifting jaws or jaw discomfort
- Cheek or roof of the mouth biting
- Abnormal or no contact between teeth
- Asymmetric jaws or disproportionate teeth.
The Benefits of Early/Interceptive Treatment (Phase One Treatment)
Early orthodontic treatment, also known as Phase One Treatment, can offer significant advantages, potentially preventing the need for extensive treatment or jaw surgery in the future.
Here are the benefits of early treatment:
- Reposition protruding front teeth, reducing the risk of injury.
- Utilize growth potential to guide jaws, teeth, and dental arches into an ideal position.
- Enhance facial symmetry and balance by influencing jaw growth (orthopedics).
- Correct crossbites, underbites, and severe overbites.
- Regulate the width of the upper and lower dental arches.
- Create space for erupting permanent teeth and maintain space for unerupted teeth.
- Decrease the likelihood of future permanent tooth extractions.
- Reduce the chance of impacted or blocked-out permanent teeth.
- Address harmful oral habits such as thumb-sucking.
- Improve abnormal swallowing or speech issues.
- Enhance the child’s self-image during their formative years.
- Reduce overall treatment time with braces in the future (Phase Two Treatment).
In summary, early orthodontic treatment, when appropriate and conservative, leads to a smoother, faster, and more successful treatment experience later on.