Is your child at least 7 years old? If so, the American Association of Orthodontists recommends they be seen for a general orthodontic appointment. This visit allows a professional to examine your child’s bite and tooth development to determine if early treatment is necessary. Oftentimes, problems can exist that can be easily addressed with Phase 1 Orthodontics; however, your child’s dentist will first need to determine if they’re a good candidate for this type of service. Read on to learn which criteria are used to decide eligibility and how this method of treatment can positively benefit your child’s smile.
What is Phase 1 Orthodontics?
This unique treatment is designed to address problems that develop with a child’s baby teeth that, without proper care, can require timely, costly, and invasive procedures later on in life.
If there is evidence that your child’s baby teeth are misaligned in any way, Phase 1 Orthodontics can remedy the situation to allow permanent teeth to erupt when it is the appropriate time. This form of orthodontics in Casper also ensures that your little one’s jaw will continue to grow correctly, avoiding any potential problems with eating, breathing, and speaking.
On average, this method of treatment only lasts a short time (i.e., 9-12 months); however, it can vary depending on your child’s case and the severity of the problem.
How to Tell if Your Child is Eligible for Phase 1 Orthodontics?
Knowing whether or not your child is eligible to receive Phase 1 Orthodontics requires a consultation with a pediatric dentist. It is during this visit that they will visually examine your child’s teeth and bite as well as capture digital X-rays to see what is happening beneath the gum line. If the dentist discovers any of the following problems, they may recommend Phase 1 Orthodontics:
- Overcrowding of baby teeth, which prevents adult teeth from properly erupting.
- Open bite that causes the teeth in the back to touch but not those in the front. This can develop as a result of thumb-sucking, tongue thrust, or extended pacifier use as a child.
- An underbite that causes the upper teeth to sit behind the lower teeth when the mouth is closed.
If your child loses baby teeth too early and needs space maintainers to prevent other nearby teeth from shifting out of place, this may also be a viable reason to pursue Phase 1 Orthodontics. It’s important to remember that this form of treatment is designed to treat one serious problem. If necessary, they may require Phase 2 treatment once their permanent teeth erupt and are firmly in place.
Because a child’s jaw and teeth are still growing at this age, it is much easier to correct these problems rather than wait until they’re older. Choosing to forgo treatment can lead to complex dental care later on, such as jaw surgery, tooth extractions because of overcrowding, and even disproportioned facial features.
Don’t hesitate to talk to a pediatric dentist about whether your little one is eligible to receive Phase 1 Orthodontics. Getting your child the care they need early on can make a dramatic difference in the future of their smile.
About the Author
Dr. Roy Paulson is a board-certified pediatric dentist and has been practicing for more than 37 years. He received his Doctor of Dental Surgery at Louisiana State University. Dr. Paulson and the team at Casper Children’s Dental Clinic understand children’s teeth may not come in or align properly, resulting in the need for orthodontic treatment. Using a combination of interceptive and comprehensive orthodontics, he can help your child achieve beautiful, healthy, and long-lasting results. To find out more about our orthodontic services, visit our website or call (307) 266-1997.