Orthodontics for Children In Edmonds, WA
The American Association of Orthodontists recommends that parents take their children to have an evaluation with an orthodontist at 7 years old. Although children do not have all of their adult teeth by age 7, there are certain problems that arise early in childhood. If those problems are present in a child’s mouth, it is important to have a good understanding of what to do, what treatment options are, and what treatments may be necessary. If a child does need some sort of treatment at an early age, the treatment is usually broken up into two parts called Phase I and Phase II.
Two Phase Orthodontic Treatment
Two phase orthodontic treatment is typically done in patients who need corrections of tooth position or jaw alignment before all of their permanent teeth have erupted. The first “phase” of this treatment is called Phase I. Phase I treatment is a powerful tool for orthodontists to control developing dental problems in a child and is typically used for children whose teeth are damaging themselves or who have significant problems with alignment of the upper and lower jaw that should not wait until they are older to treat.
All Phase I patients get a retainer to maintain the corrections that took place during Phase I. This retainer is designed to allow baby teeth to fall out and adult teeth to come in while maintaining the positions of the teeth we moved. A patient keeps this retainer until they start the second phase of treatment called Phase II.
Phase II treatment involves braces on all of the adult teeth. It is the completion of the orthodontic treatment initiated in Phase I. The goal of the second phase is to make sure each tooth has an exact location in the mouth where it is in harmony with the lips, cheeks, tongue, and other teeth. When this equilibrium is established, the result is a beautiful smile and teeth that function properly.
There are times where using braces on a child who needs only minor correction is excessive. In those cases, orthodontists will use a retainer to move the teeth in lieu of braces. Retainers can be an easy, inexpensive way to take care of some children’s orthodontic needs and introduce them to orthodontic treatment.