It is recommended by the American Academy of Orthodontists that children have their first orthodontic consultation by the age of seven.
At Epic Dentistry, we believe this is important and because of our unique relationship with our patients, we can help guide parents in deciding when the ideal time to begin treatment is.
Seven is the ideal age for the first consultation for many reasons. At this age, your child will have a mix of baby and permanent teeth, which allows us to see how your child’s smile is taking shape and learn more about the developing bite relationship.
While many children will not require any treatment at this young of age, for the children who may need treatment, early interceptive treatment can offer the most ideal and long-lasting results. While we can begin orthodontic treatment at any age, starting at this young age allows us to take advantage of a jaw that is still growing, giving us the opportunity to guide this growth to allow for adequate space for all erupting teeth and to create the most stable bite relationship.
Interceptive treatment, also known as two-phase orthodontic treatment, can put your child on the path to a healthier smile. The treatment is broken into two phases to allow for the growth of the jaw to be guided properly and then for all of the permanent teeth to erupt.
In the first phase, we focus on guiding the jaw. Depending on the needs of the child, there are different orthodontic appliances that can be used during this time. Some patients may benefit from a partial set of braces right away, while others may need a palatal expander. Each patient will receive a customized treatment plan designed to meet his or her individual needs.
Guiding the growth of the jaw in the first phase allows us to ensure there is enough space for proper eruption of the permanent teeth. A jaw that is too small can create crowding and overlapping, and permanent teeth can even erupt rotated or twisted as they try to find space in a mouth that is too small.
The first phase allows us to start to correct overcrowding, crossbites, overbites and underbites. These conditions could require surgery or extractions if treatment is left until after the jaw stops growing.
When the first phase is completed, there will be a resting period to allow for any remaining permanent teeth to erupt. Your child will maintain regular visits with us to ensure everything is progressing properly and so that we can begin the second phase of treatment at the most ideal time.
The second phase of treatment is the straightening phase. This is when braces or clear aligners are used to guide the teeth to their most ideal locations. Patients who take advantage of early interceptive treatment often see shorter treatment times during this phase of treatment because we were able to address the issues individually.
By being able to focus first on jaw growth, we are able to ensure a healthy and stable bite that is ready for permanent teeth. This often allows for the straightening phase of treatment to be more efficient and effective.
At Epic Dentistry, we believe taking advantage of two-phase, early interceptive treatment offers our patients a host of benefits. Not only do we reduce the need for extractions or surgery later, but we can also provide straightforward treatment that is less complicated and efficient.
The final goal of orthodontic treatment isn’t only a beautiful smile, but a smile that functions properly, as well. Two-phase treatment allows us to do just that. When scheduling an orthodontic consultation for your child, you are opening up the possibility of giving your child his or her very best smile that will last a lifetime.