When Is the Best Time to Begin Early Treatment?
A good time for a first orthodontic appointment is when your child is around the age of seven.
Orthodontic treatment can be begun concerning certain types of tooth problems before all the permanent teeth have erupted.
What Are Advantages of Early Treatment?
- Moves the front teeth back so that they will be less susceptible to injury
- Improves the relationship of the upper and lower jaws, allowing more normal future development
- Uses maximum advantage of growth for successful treatment
- Improves facial appearance and self-esteem
- Takes advantage of the good cooperation of patients at this age
- May avoid or reduce the need for further treatment when patients are older
What are the phases of early treatment?
Treatment usually takes 12 to 18 months. A variety of appliances may be used to correct specific problems.
- Braces - Placed on the upper and sometimes lower permanent teeth
- Headgear - Worn to move the upper teeth back
- Rapid Palatal Expander - Worn to widen the upper jaw
- Face Mask - Worn to move the upper jaw forward
- Functional Appliance - A removable "retainer" worn to stimulate jaw growth
During the time between the first and second phase, the patient will be seen approximately two times per year.
During the first phase, the orthodontist has no control over 16 unerupted permanent teeth. If after they grow in, problems still exist, further treatment will be required. A separate fee will be quoted at that time. Treatment usually takes 12 to 24 months at age 12 to 13.