Starting Your Child Early With Orthodontics

Starting Your Child Early With Orthodontics

When we think of who typically sports braces, we mostly imagine a gangly teen with a “metal mouth,” but that’s old-think. Not only are there many orthodontic correction methods that exist now as compared with years ago — from clear aligners to braces that are placed on the back of your teeth — both adults and younger children are getting treated.

Dr. Wayne Hickory and the skilled team at Embassy Row Orthodontics provide the most advanced, sensitively delivered care no matter how old — or young — you are. 

Why wouldn’t you just wait until the teen years for orthodontic treatment?

In the clinical world, children’s orthodontics are referred to as “Phase I orthodontics,” or interceptive treatment that’s administered before your child loses all of their baby teeth. 

It’s kind of like the “sweet spot” for evaluation, because they have some permanent teeth, and Dr. Hickory can glean much information from about your child’s tooth and jaw development at this time in their lives.

Getting your child evaluated by Dr. Hickory around age 7 is something we advise, even if no flaws are apparent with their alignment or jaw development. 

Why do we recommend this? Because sometimes it’s optimal to start orthodontic treatment so that it can follow your child’s overall developmental progression. Their teeth are more pliable at this age, and can shift more easily and often, more quickly.

According to the American Association of Orthodontics, one of the most important reasons for early orthodontic assessment is determining whether a correctable issue is present that’s likely to worsen over time, and then be much more difficult to correct later.

There are certain problems that early treatment addresses much more efficiently and comfortably. With a proper evaluation, Dr. Hickory might conclude that your child doesn’t need any treatment yet, that they should be monitored periodically as their jaw develops, or that a problem needs to be remedied and a treatment plan developed promptly. 

What problems can Phase I orthodontics address? 

Because Dr. Hickory has received focused training in this area, he’s especially adept at identifying any problem present and doing what’s necessary to nurture your child’s jaw bone development.  

Phase I orthodontic treatment can help your child by:

The good news is that accessing treatment for your child at this age can prevent highly unpleasant intervention later on, such as jaw surgery. Additionally, bite problems at an early age can get in the way of proper cleaning and decay as well as wear problems can develop. 

What does interceptive orthodontic treatment at a young age involve?

When we start your younger child on treatment, the initial strategy is fitting them with expanders. They look a lot like the retainers we all know from traditional orthodontic treatment. The difference is that they have the ability to expand in width and gently make your child’s jaw wider over the course of a few months. 

The next phase of their treatment will come in their teen years, because the expanders prepare them for braces or Invisalign clear aligners. To preserve the correction that their treatment provided, the final step is wearing a retainer routinely, typically for a year to 18 months. This step is important because the teeth tend to want to shift back to their pre-treatment positions. 

When it comes to saving time, funds, and discomfort, it’s best to address orthodontic issues on the front end rather than waiting, and Dr. Hickory and his friendly staff are ready to do just that. 

Call our office today to schedule a consultation about Phase I orthodontic treatment for your child, or use our convenient online booking option

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