As a parent or guardian, you are always looking for the best for your child. When a child enters middle school or early high school, you may have it on your radar to ask your local orthodontist about braces. However, did you know there is a pro-active option that could reduce the amount of time your child has braces? Early orthodontic training can be recommended by your orthodontist to provide treatment to pro-actively.
What is Early Orthodontic Training?
Early orthodontic training is a pro-active form of orthodontic treatment, also known as “Phase I” treatment. Phase I braces are typically completed in children that are six- or seven-years-old. This makes it beneficial to take your child to an orthodontist in their early years for an introductory appointment.
An orthodontist will be able to see some tell-tale signs your child may have malocclusion, crowding of the teeth, or other jaw or dental issues. These issues could lead to other problems, not just with their teeth. When a child’s mouth grows improperly, it can lead to health and speech issues. From here, this could result in years of costly speech therapy. When braces are entered into a child’s life early on, it can eliminate that need, helping them feel better and be a successful student.
Also, when a child gets braces earlier in life, it can reduce the amount of time they wear braces. In some cases, issues can be resolved in as little as one year.
Signs Your Child May Need Phase I Treatment
First, make a note to have an introductory appointment with your local orthodontist when your child is six- or seven-years-old. It is important to keep regular with regular dentist appointments for your child’s overall oral health. Dentists primary focus is ensuring patients do not have any oral issues, such as cavities, decay, gingivitis, and more.
An orthodontist specializes in alignment issues. Alignment issues can lead to crowded teeth, bite problems, jaw issues, and more. From there, movement is needed to provide room, fix the bite and more.
So as a parent or guardian, what signs may mean your child is the perfect candidate for Phase I treatment?
• Bite problems: One of the most common signs of orthodontic issues, having an under or overbite can benefit from braces. You may notice bite issues while they are chewing food.
• Crowding: When the teeth grow in and crowd in over each other, it is a sign of a more significant issue.
• Improper growth: If your child’s baby teeth are improperly growing in, it could be an early sign of future problems.
• Losing teeth early or late: Children tend to lose teeth around the age of seven. When children lose teeth earlier, when they are four to six, it may be a sign Phase I treatment will help. On the alternative side, if children do not lose their teeth on time, it can delay and cause issues for your child.
• Jaw alignment: In some children, you will notice jaw issues simple from the shape of their face. Others may complain about pain. When young children show these signs, treating them early on will reduce or eliminate more significant problems.
• Pain: It is not normal for your child to undergo pain with their jaw or teeth. If your child complains about pain with their mouth, it is a conversation to have with the orthodontist.
• Protruding teeth: Thumb sucking, which often causes the front teeth to protrude
• Speech issues: Do you notice that your child has problems speaking? Speaking problems is an issue that braces early on may resolve as their adult teeth form.
Issues Early Orthodontic Training May Resolve
When combatting orthodontic issues early on in a child’s life, they may not undergo some of the pain or treatments had an orthodontist intervened early.
First, Phase I treatment will help eliminate malocclusion. When there is crowding of the teeth, it can cause for a tooth to become impacted. An impacted tooth is one that does not have the appropriate amount of space to grow in, whether that be because of its direction or the lack of room due to crowding of the teeth around it. Wisdom teeth is an example of an issue from those who are older, where the teeth are there but have nowhere to go. This impaction occurs because the adult molars are already in place. When teeth are impacted, it can lead to severe issue as adult teeth try to grow in and aren’t able to.
Next, early orthodontic treatment can resolve a multitude of bite issues. The main types of bite issues include:
• Crossbite: When the jaw is at a slant, causing the teeth to grow in at a slant—causing the child/person’s bite not to be even.
• Openbite: Occurs when the top and bottom sets of teeth face outward.
• Overbite: Top jaw extends further over the bottom jaw.
• Underbite: The bottom jaw sticks out more than the top jaw.
Your orthodontist will be able to see some of these issues in a child’s early years. Taking treatment early can correct problems much quicker. Long-term, initial treatment can resolve abnormal growth of the mouth, breathing issues, speech impediments, and much more.
Miss the Time Period?
If you read about Phase I orthodontic treatment when your child is more than eight years old, do not fret. Phase 2 orthodontics is exceptionally beneficial. As long as a child or teens receives the proper treatment, it can reduce or eliminate dental and health issues for the future. Even adults benefit from orthodontics. Straight teeth have far more benefits than cosmetic. Talk to your orthodontist about braces for your child as soon as you can to discuss affordable options for your family.
No matter how old your child is, Prentice Orthodontics will help you find the perfect treatment for your child’s overall oral health. Also, we know we can help combat other issues when treating early on . Contact Prentice Orthodontics today to set up your initial appointment. We can assess your child’s situation and inform you if your child will benefit from this form of orthodontic treatment.