Many people associate braces and other orthodontic treatments with adolescence or early adulthood, but orthodontic care can start as early as age seven. At Embassy Row Orthodontics in Bethesda, Maryland, Wayne Hickory, DMD, MDS, MS, evaluates your child before they lose their baby teeth to determine whether they need children’s orthodontics. To learn more, call Embassy Row Orthodontics or book an appointment online today.
Children’s orthodontics, or Phase I orthodontic treatment, refers to orthodontic care that your child needs while they still have their baby teeth.
Even if you don’t have concerns related to your child’s jaw shape or smile, you should bring your child to Embassy Row Orthodontics around age seven for a consultation with Dr. Hickory.
If children’s orthodontics is necessary, the first step is usually using expanders. Expanders are devices that look similar to retainers, but they have a mechanism that causes them to grow wider so they can widen your child’s jaw over several months.
After using expanders, your child will either need braces or Invisalign® to align their teeth later during adolescence. Once orthodontic treatment is complete, your child must wear a retainer consistently for 12-18 months to keep their teeth from regressing.
Children’s orthodontics can treat numerous complications and forms of misalignment. When deciding whether your child needs children’s orthodontics, Dr. Hickory evaluates them for:
In some cases, tooth misalignment results from bad habits like finger or thumb sucking. Dr. Hickory might ask about these and other habits during your children’s orthodontics consultation appointment.
Untreated misalignment can make it harder for your child to effectively clean their teeth. It can also lead to damage to the teeth that bear most of the pressure of your child’s bite.
Phase I orthodontics is often better than waiting until adolescence or adulthood to consider orthodontic care because it works with your child’s natural growth and development. This makes it easier and faster to move your child’s teeth into an ideal position for further development.
If you wait until your child’s jaw is fully developed to make some of these changes, jaw surgery may be the only option. Most people prefer to avoid jaw surgery because of the costs and potential complications, making children’s orthodontics an ideal choice for many families.
If your child still has teeth that haven’t erupted, children’s orthodontics can create space for those teeth to emerge smoothly.
Children’s orthodontics can ultimately save you time and costs during future orthodontic treatments. To set up a consultation for your child, call Embassy Row Orthodontics or book online today.