In certain cases, early-age orthodontic treatment can have a significant impact on a child’s oral growth and development. The American Association of Orthodontists (AAO) recommends that all children should have a checkup with an orthodontic specialist no later than age 7. By age 7, the permanent teeth are beginning to erupt, so Dr. Holland can check for problems related to jaw growth, bite alignment, and the incoming adult teeth, enabling him to address issues as early as possible.
When Dr. Holland examines your child, he’ll primarily be looking at their teeth, jaw, and how they line up when the mouth is closed. He will also take some X-rays so he can view the teeth that have yet to come in. This way, he can see if your child has any current alignment problems. He’ll also be able to determine whether or not other developmental concerns are likely to worsen as they grow. He can then recommend whether or not your child would benefit from Phase I treatment, which is intended to give the incoming adult teeth all the room they need to come in straight.
Phase II usually consists of treatments you’re probably already familiar with, such as traditional braces. Phase I helps the adult teeth come in as straight as possible, while Phase II corrects any lingering alignment issues they might have. By undergoing Phase I, a child’s orthodontic problems can be greatly reduced, which means their overall time wearing traditional braces should be noticeably shortened or even eliminated altogether. Phase I can also prevent certain issues from becoming worse, such as those associated with thumb sucking.
In addition to braces, Dr. Holland can use other orthodontic appliances such as an RPE (rapid palatal expander) to fix crowding and retainers to help newly shifted teeth stay in place after braces have come off. By beginning orthodontic treatment as early as possible, a child’s overall treatment time can be drastically shortened, saving time and money for parents. The end result will be a well-balanced, functional, and attractive smile that should bolster a child’s confidence for years to come.
An early orthodontic evaluation generally does not result in immediate treatment. After evaluating your child, we can make decisions regarding the best time to begin treatment, as well as put together the appropriate recall schedule necessary to monitor the eruption of the permanent teeth, the jaw, and their overall facial development.