Tuckahoe, NY – In the past, and even still today, the teen years are often spent hiding smiles filled with metal braces. Today, orthodontic treatment has become more sophisticated, and when started earlier, can often lessen and sometimes eliminate the need for braces in the teen years.
The American Association of Orthodontists recommends that children have their first consultation with an orthodontist around the age of seven. This is the ideal time to determine if your child could benefit from early interceptive orthodontic treatment. Early treatment, also referred to as “Phase 1 orthodontics,” can:
- Make room to allow the permanent teeth to properly erupt, reducing the risk of tooth impactions
- Guide the growth of the jaw to ensure adequate space and facial symmetry
- Reduce the risk of injury associated with protruding teeth
- Lessen the possible need for tooth removal or surgery later on
“Around the age of seven, your child’s baby teeth have started to fall out and are being replaced with adult teeth,” says Dr. Polan. “Seeing your child at this time allows us to examine how the dental development and jaw growth are proceeding, and we can spot any issues that may benefit from early treatment.”
Most kids will not need any treatment at this time, but for those who do, it can make a huge difference. Most patients who have interceptive/ phase 1 treatment will still benefit from further treatment when they’re older, but any future treatment is generally much more efficient than it would have been if no interceptive treatment was done. Early interceptive treatment allows your orthodontist to create the most stable, healthy functioning bite, and it can reduce the potential need for future jaw surgery or tooth extractions in more severe cases. By taking advantage of a jaw that is still growing and teeth that are still developing, your orthodontist can guide the jaw and teeth to allow for the teeth to erupt properly and give adequate space to align them properly.
“Early interceptive treatment is really all about creating the most ideal environment for your child’s permanent teeth to grow into,” says Dr. Polan. “When we do that, it makes the any future treatment much easier and quicker. While you may not be able to avoid braces altogether as a teen, early treatment can mean the time you spend in braces is as efficient as possible, and in no time, you’ll be enjoying your beautifully straight smile.”