As parents watch their children grow, many often wonder “What’s the ideal age for orthodontic treatment?” They also wonder if their child even needs orthodontic treatment. Although their teeth may appear straight, the American Association of Orthodontists (AAO) agrees that all children should see an orthodontist.
Phase I/Early Treatment
Orthodontic treatment is divided into two distinctive phases. Phase I, or Early Treatment, begins at a child’s first appointment. The AAO recommends that the first appointment occurs before their seventh birthday. The reason for the timing is based on the growth patterns of teeth and bones.
At seven years of age, many of your child’s primary, or baby, teeth have already fallen out. They have a good number of their permanent, or adult, teeth. Using x-rays, an orthodontist can see where new adult teeth will be erupting. This allows an orthodontist to predict whether there will be enough space along your child’s jawline for new adult teeth.
If it appears that crowding or other orthodontic problems may occur, the doctor can begin preventative treatment. This may include appliances such as palatal expanders, retainers, or even braces. At the ages between 7 and 11, your child’s growth is easier to guide. The goal of Early Treatment is to ensure a better jaw alignment as a child progresses to Phase II treatment.
Phase II/Adolescent Treatment
Phase II, or Adolescent Treatment, is the phase of orthodontic care most people are familiar with. Treatment may begin around age 11 or 12 and usually includes wearing braces for a period of time. If a younger child needs Phase I Treatment, the results of that early intervention may shorten Phase II treatment periods.
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In many instances, after an initial consultation, younger children may not need treatment immediately. Most orthodontists place them into a monitoring status, checking in every six months or so. This allows the doctor to monitor growth and determine the best time to begin Phase II treatment.
Phase II treatment usually involves your pre-teen or teen wearing braces. They may have traditional-style metal braces, ceramic braces, or Invisalign Teen. The purpose of braces is to correct alignment problems, ensure a proper “bite,” and ease crowding or other orthodontic issues. Braces may be prescribed for periods from 6 to 36 months, depending on the level of correction necessary.
What’s the Ideal Age for Orthodontic Treatment
Returning to our question, “What’s the ideal age for orthodontic treatment?” The ideal age to have an initial consultation is before a child turns seven. Beyond that, your orthodontist will determine if there is a need for Phase I treatment.
Dr. Michael Sokoloff is a highly-trained orthodontist. The entire staff at Sokoloff Orthodontics is friendly, compassionate, and very knowledgeable. In addition, as a family practice, Sokoloff Orthodontics specializes in treating patients of all ages.
Even if you missed bringing your child in before age seven, it is never too late to begin orthodontic care. It is easy to set up an appointment using our online form. Fill out the requested information, click submit, and our awesome staff will contact you to complete the process. You can also call our office at 914-949-0068.
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