Orthodontics for Children
Early Orthodontic evaluation and treatment for children is integral in ensuring that they get off to a great start with their life-long oral health.
If you're the parent of a child who might need orthodontic treatment, we're here to put your concerns to rest!
How old should my child be to visit the orthodontist for the first time?
There are many orthodontic problems that are significantly easier to treat if they are detected at an early age.
The Canadian Association of Orthodontists recommends that children should first visit an Orthodontist no later than the age 7.
Some children will not require treatment until they are between the ages of 11 to 13. However, because the first permanent incisors and molars have usually erupted by age 7, orthodontic conditions like crowding, cross bites, and a a variety of others can be evaluated at this time.
Can a child with baby teeth undergo orthodontic correction?
Yes. Some orthodontic problems are significant enough early on to warrant immediate intervention. On the other hand, if your child is not yet ready for treatment, we will carefully monitor his or her growth and development in the mean time, until he or she is ready for treatment.
What does Phase I Treatment involve?
Phase I (otherwise known as early interceptive) treatment is a limited form of orthodontic treatment (e.g., expander or partial braces) that takes place before all of the permanent teeth have erupted.
Phase I treatment takes place most often in children between the ages of 6 and 10. It's usually recommended in cases where more space is needed in the mouth for developing teeth, and for the correction of overbites, crossbites, underbites, and harmful oral habits.
What orthodontic problems can occur before the age of 7?
There are a many reasons a child might need orthodontic intervention at an early age. Early phase treatment may reduce or prevent the need for more invasive, time consuming treatment later on.
When treatment is initiated when a child is still young, the orthodontist can better guide the growth of the jaw and the development of the emerging permanent teeth.
The following issues can be treated with orthodontics:
- Trouble with chewing and breathing
- Late or early loss of baby teeth
- Teeth that are crowded, loose, or impacted
- Upper and lower teeth that do not meet correctly
- Improper jaw alignment
- Tongue thrusting
- Cross bites
Will my child still need full braces if he/she has Phase I Treatment?
Phase I Treatment is done in anticipation for Phase II treatment, not instead of it, so your child will more than likely need full braces later on.
Early orthodontic treatment can also help regulate the width of the upper and lower dental arches, gain space for permanent teeth, prevent the need to extract permanent teeth, reduce the occurrence of impacted permanent teeth, break thumb-sucking habits, and eliminate tongue thrusting or speech problems.
Phase I treatment, in other words, is designed to help make Phase II treatment more efficient and more effective.