What is The Best Age to Visit an Orthodontist?

It’s no surprise to see teens and adults wearing braces for years at a time to straighten their teeth, but did you know that kids as young as 7 years old can also benefit from early orthodontic treatment? In reality, there are various treatments that a patient can go through from a young age to prepare their mouth and jaw better for proper development. If you are lucky and have great results, you may not even need any follow-up treatment later on.

Here’s some more information regarding early orthodontic treatment in children.

At What Age Should a Child First Visit an Orthodontist?

According to the American Association of Orthodontists (AAO), children should have their first orthodontist visit at 7 years old. Although this may seem a little early, it’s the perfect age for an orthodontist to detect any possible issue in a child before it grows into a more complicated situation in their teen years.

Leaving a problem to grow means more than just more teeth misaligned, it could greatly complicate the treatment needed to fix the issue as well as increase the time needed for the treatment to be successful.

Early detection of problems in the development of a child’s teeth and jaws is possible because, at that early age, they already should have a few permanent teeth mixed in with the baby ones. The existence of permanent teeth allows orthodontists to detect misaligned teeth, bad bites, and more issues that non-dentist can’t identify.

What Are the Stages of Orthodontics?

Before you receive any treatment, your orthodontist takes some previous steps when you first visit them. At first, there is the initial consultation; here, your orthodontist will determine if there is any problem with the position of your teeth or jaws. If they find anything, they will probably send you to get x-rays done. Once you get your x-rays, the orthodontist will have a better view of your teeth’ roots and jawbones, making it possible for them to find any previously undetected issue.

Once your orthodontist has determined what problems you may have, they will present you with an orthodontic treatment tailored to your situation. You will have options to choose from. Taking braces as an example, you could decide whether to get regular braces, lingual braces, ceramic braces, etc. After you decide on the best option for you, installation is next. Regarding braces, dentists install them in one sitting, and any soreness or tension is usually felt from day one. 

After your appliances are on, or if your treatment ends, you will have to check regularly with your orthodontist so they can check that everything is healing properly. With braces, you will have to visit your orthodontist every 3 months for the first year.

What Is Phase I Orthodontics?

Phase I orthodontics refers to any orthodontic treatment done in children that haven’t had all, or most of, their permanent teeth erupt yet. Previously we mentioned that it’s important to take your child from age 7 to the orthodontist for them to detect any anomaly in their teeth or jaw’s growth. Well, phase I orthodontics is the beginning stages of the treatment recommended to your child in case some issue is found.

Although phase I orthodontics can prevent more serious treatments later on, such as tooth removal, it is only done when the orthodontist in charge is sure that they can achieve a greater result by treating the problem at a young age rather than waiting for further growth.

It’s important to remember that phase I orthodontic treatments tend to last for around a year, making them shorter than most phase II treatments. After you finish your treatment, your orthodontist will give you a resting period of about a year. During this time, the child’s mouth will continue to develop, which will, in turn, allow the orthodontist to pick the treatment that best suits the child’s needs. Fortunately for many, there are cases where you don’t require additional treatment after phase one.

What Is Phase II Orthodontics?

Phase II involves the more familiar treatments like braces. Phase II begins when most, if not all, of the patient’s teeth, are permanent ones. During this phase, the time it takes for a treatment to be successful is around 1 to 2 years, although it will vary depending on the treatment and person. Treatment in this phase can come in the form of regular braces, clear aligners, oral surgery, and even teeth extraction.

As previously stated, you may not need phase II treatment if phase I was a complete success. On the other hand, comprehensive treatment refers to situations where a patient doesn’t need phase I but does need phase two.

Contact Your Salem Orthodontist

For questions regarding your child’s orthodontic treatment, contact us here at McDonald Orthodontics where we’ll gladly answer your questions or make an appointment if needed.