Orthodontics for Children

When we picture an orthodontics patient, we tend to think of someone who is between the ages of 12 and 17. They are in middle or high school, most of their growing is done, and they have all their adult teeth. But orthodontics is not limited to teenagers.

When Patients Should First Be Seen

If teens were the only orthodontic patients, we would not need to see patients until they turned 12. But they aren’t, and children should be seen earlier than that—much earlier.

Age seven is the ideal time for a child to first be evaluated by an orthodontist. At this age, children have a mixture of adult and baby teeth, and this means that bite relationships are starting to be established. As a result, Dr. Pham can determine if a child needs treatment within the next few years or if they can wait until they are 11 or 12 to be seen again.

Early Treatment

The vast majority of children will be told all is well and to return when they are nearly a teen for a second evaluation. However, a small number will need to begin treatment when they are eight or nine years old. This is called early treatment or two-phase treatment.

This treatment is only recommended for children who have severe orthodontic abnormalities that, if left untreated until later in life, will require invasive methods to correct, such as jaw surgery or tooth pulling. It is done in two active phases and two passive phases. The first phase is treatment with appliances around age nine for about a year. Then there is a resting period, and the next active phase begins when the child is about 12, using appliances once more. After that, it is time for retainers, ensuring the child has a perfect smile.

If your child is seven or older, call us to schedule their evaluation.