At Ortega Orthodontics, we believe early treatment can make a significant difference in the positive growth and development of a child’s smile. As a pediatric orthodontist in Jacksonville, Dr. Holland can provide what is known as Phase I Pediatric Orthodontics to children as young as 7. Not only will this proactive form of treatment work to improve aesthetics, but even more so, it will reduce the likeliness of more complex dental care later on in life. If you have a child who is nearing the appropriate age for an orthodontic examination, please do not hesitate to contact our office to schedule an appointment with Dr. Holland today.
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.
The only way to know for sure if your child should receive Phase I treatment is to schedule an appointment with an orthodontist in Jacksonville. Dr. Holland’s skillful eye will be able to detect problem areas, which will then allow him to recommend the appropriate treatment. However, there are a few signs that can make it easier to determine if early orthodontics is necessary, such as:
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.
To do this, he will have your child wear a series of removable oral appliances to bed that places a small amount of pressure on their teeth. If your child is still sucking their thumb by this age, he may also place a thumb crib in their mouth to help them break the habit. After a year or so, he will reexamine your child and see if they need to progress onto Phase II.
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 result will be a well-balanced, functional, and attractive smile that should bolster a child’s confidence for years to come.
Children are much easier to treat with orthodontics simply because the bones in their face are continuing to develop. This is why early orthodontic treatment is important and beneficial. By addressing these issues ahead of time, we can stop problems before they start and mitigate the potential for worsening issues down the road. Instead of waiting until they are teenagers or even adults, our team at Ortega Orthodontics can give your child a chance to enjoy a healthier, more beautiful smile as they transition into adolescence and adulthood.
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.