AT KIDS, WHEN WE PICTURE SOMEONE with braces, we usually picture a teenager with a mouthful of colourful brackets. What we don’t typically picture is orthodontic appliances on younger children. However, there are different options for Orthodontics that can reduce the need for tooth extraction and jaw surgery, correct certain problems as they appear, encourage better facial development, shorten the length of orthodontic treatment needed later on, and leave patients with a better overall result in the end.
Changing the path of Orthodontics Heads Off Problems Early
Conventional wisdom argues that orthodontic treatment shouldn’t start until all the adult teeth have grown in, but some issues with bite, alignment, and facial development can show up long before those teeth do. That’s where a different option of “Phase 1” orthodontics comes in. An orthodontist can help your child’s jawbones grow properly to have more room for the adult teeth and provide the structure for a healthier bite. Correcting problems like malocclusions (bad bites) as they appear makes future orthodontic treatment much faster and easier — and, in some cases, unnecessary!
Causes Of Malocclusions In Children
Orthodontics seeks to correct problems with jaw growth and damage from harmful habits such as thumb sucking, nail-biting, tongue thrusting, and mouth breathing. Each of these habits contributes to bite problems such as a narrow upper arch, an underdeveloped lower jaw, a deep bite, and an open bite, as well as dental crowding, which in turn can make it difficult to chew and swallow effectively and speak clearly. The purpose of Phase 1 treatment is to stop those habits if they persist or repair the damage so that the adult teeth can grow in where they should.
Common Phase 1 Treatments
One of the most noticeable differences between Phase 1 and Phase 2 orthodontics is that Phase 1 is less focused on actual braces. Those typically come later, if they are still needed. Some of the treatments commonly used in Phase 1 include:
- Upper jaw expansion to eliminate a crossbite
- Expansion of one or both jaws to create more room for adult teeth
- Early extraction of specific baby teeth to help adult teeth come in properly
- Keeping space open for permanent teeth after premature loss of a baby tooth
- Reduction of upper front teeth protrusion to protect from trauma
Is Your Child A Candidate For Orthodontics?
Phase 1 orthodontics works better for correcting some problems than others. The best way you can find out if it can help your child get the healthy, properly aligned smile they deserve is to bring them in for an orthodontic consultation around age 7 — especially if you’ve noticed any obvious bite problems or if they have one or more of those harmful oral health habits. In the meantime, keep encouraging them to do their brushing and flossing!
Here at KIDS, we love working with our patients to keep those smiles healthy!
Contact us today to book your appointment here at KIDS, let’s help together on how your kids can achieve healthy oral health! Alternatively, complete the form below, and one of our friendly team members will contact you.
Our top priority is helping our patients achieve healthy smiles for life!