Dr. Loo and Dr. Yen recommend that children have their first orthodontic appointment when they turn 7 years old. By then, their first adult teeth have come through and can be evaluated for any irregular teeth and jaw concerns like cross bites, under bites, and crowding. Treatment of children is best done in two phases.
Phase one, or preventative orthodontic treatment, occurs when your child still has a mixture of baby and adult teeth. The goal of phase one treatment is to improve your child's facial profile by guiding the proper growth and development of jaws and incoming adult teeth. Phase one treatment often simplifies or eliminates future orthodontic treatment by:
Phase one treatment may include the use of braces, headgear, rapid palatal expanders, face masks and retainers to address orthodontic concerns.
Phase two, or full treatment, occurs when all of the permanent adult teeth have erupted. Patients are generally ready for full treatment starting around 11 to 13 years old, with girls usually starting 6 to 12 months sooner than boys.
The goal of phase two is to ensure that each tooth has an exact location in the mouth where it is in harmony with the lips, cheeks, tongue, jaws, and other teeth. When this balance is reached, the result is a beautiful smile with healthy and functional teeth!
Phase two treatment can take between one to three years, depending on your child's case, age, cooperation and consistency in keeping appointments.