The American Association of Orthodontists recommends visiting the orthodontist around age seven. 75 percent of a child’s growth occurs before the age of 10.
The goal of early treatment is to “normalize” growth of the jaw and correct bite problems. Correcting these problems will remove dental or skeletal restrictions that may otherwise inhibit the normal growth and development of your child’s jaws. Early treatment also helps to create room for the permanent teeth to come in properly, reducing the possibility of extractions or more complicated future orthodontic treatment.
Therefore, if recommended by your orthodontist, early orthodontic treatment would prove beneficial in modifying facial growth to produce an improved, balanced profile and a healthy, properly functioning dentition.
Two-phase orthodontic treatment is a specialized process combining tooth straightening and physical, facial changes. Typically, early treatment (Phase One) begins around age eight or nine, whereas Phase Two begins around age 11 or older. The purpose of two-phase treatment is to maximize your child’s growth and development “potential,” in order to achieve as stable and as ideal, functional, and aesthetic result as possible.
Phase One — Your Child's Foundation for a Lifetime of Beautiful Smiles
The goal of Phase One treatment is to help the jaw develop in a way that will accommodate all of the permanent teeth and to improve the way the upper and lower jaws fit together. Children often exhibit early signs of jaw problems as they grow and develop. A lower jaw that is growing too much or an upper jaw that is too narrow can be recognized at an early age. The average treatment time for Phase One patients is between 6 and 12 months. Patients are then given appropriate retention and are monitored every 3 to 6 months to determine their readiness for Phase Two.
Phase Two — Stay Healthy and Look Attractive
The goal of the second phase is to correctly align all permanent teeth in your mouth. Phase Two usually involves full upper and lower braces. Certain types of appliances were used in the first phase to correct and realign the teeth and jaws. The second phase begins when nearly all permanent teeth are in, and usually requires braces on all the teeth for an average of 15 to 24 months. Retainers are worn after this phase to ensure you retain your beautiful smile.