Braces for kids
Establishing a good oral hygiene routine with your children is important for, not only their teeth, but their overall health and wellbeing. At Cater Galante Orthodontics, we encourage part of this routine to be coming in and seeing us for an orthodontic consultation.
Early orthodontic consultation
The American Association of Orthodontics (AAO) recommends children have an orthodontic consultation no later than the age of seven. This enables us to identify any potential orthodontic problems that may affect your child in their teenage and adult years and be able to take steps to mitigate them.
There most common orthodontic and growth problems that benefit from early treatment procedures are: crowding, severe overbite (deep) bites, dysfunctional habits (thumb or finger sucking) and problems related to narrow jaws and a poor airway.
If your child does need treatment it will usually occur over two phases.
Phase one and two treatment process
The first phase of active orthodontic treatment lasts approximately six to fifteen months and occurs when permanent and baby teeth are present. The corrections made in the first phase are retained with fixed space maintainers, Hawley bite plates or other removable retainers. Patients are then placed in our growth evaluation program. This is included in the phase one fee and includes quarterly office visits along with periodic panoramic x-rays and photographs. Phase two or comprehensive treatment is started once all the permanent teeth are in place.
Diagram: Two Phase Orthodontic Treatment for Kids
Occasionally, when a patient is being treated with a two phase treatment program, the permanent teeth erupt more rapidly than anticipated. If this situation should occur, the parents will be advised at a second consultation, and the patient will continue directly into the second phase of treatment without removing the orthodontic appliance.
Effective treatment program
Although the two phase treatment program does appear to be more involved, in reality, it is a much more effective way to treat the problems that are present at an early age. By expanding the jaws you eliminate airway problems, eliminate the need for extractions of permanent teeth, potential jaw surgery and actually shorten the time in full braces.
To summarize, we will use a two phase treatment program, when it is required, because of what we are able to accomplish in altering the jaw structure and oral environment. A second phase is generally needed in 75% of the patients to finalize all the tooth positions and the bite.
Part of your child's orthodontic treatment journey may include the use of expanders. These appliances are used to widen your child's jaw to provide sufficient room for his or her teeth to straighten. An expander is a removable appliance which you will need to manage for your child in between appointments. It comes with a small key which you need to insert into the hole of the expander to twist. We'll show you how at your child's fitting appointment.
Book a free consultation for your child with us today to find out if he or she could benefit from early orthodontic treatment.