Early Orthodontic Treatment

Orthodontic treatment can be broken into phases. The first phase occurs early on in life, normally when adult teeth begin to replace baby teeth. The second occurs during a patient’s teenage years. Breaking orthodontic treatment into phases can reduce the need for external orthodontic appliances and can reduce the time people wear braces.

If you’re a parent or caregiver, we recommend scheduling your child’s first orthodontic consultation around the age of seven. A consultation scheduled in childhood gives our team a chance to detect potential issues that might require professional intervention. Your child’s first consultation will include a physical examination along with diagnostic images such as X-rays and photographs. This appointment is also a great time for you and your child to become acquainted with Dr. Mascola and our practice.

Why Early Orthodontic Treatment is Important

Scheduling an orthodontic consultation in childhood is beneficial to children. This appointment can lead to the detection of issues with the bite or developmental problems and can help determine whether there is enough room to accommodate the arrival of adult teeth. Addressing developmental issues or those that arise during tooth transition can help establish good oral health at an early age.

Early Orthodontic Treatment | Torrance | San Pedro

A straight smile is important for reasons beyond aesthetics. Children with properly spaced teeth enjoy lower risks for common conditions like tooth decay and gum disease. Healthy jaw alignment is an essential part of maintaining comfortable oral function, too.

When treatment is necessary during childhood, an orthodontist can take advantage of the fact that facial bones are still growing and developing. This means that orthodontic appliances used to widen or lengthen the jaw can be utilized to ensure that adult teeth emerge properly.

Early orthodontic treatment can make wearing braces as a teen easier. Sometimes, patients who’ve had early treatment see shorter treatment times. They might not need to wear appliances like external headgear, either.

Types of Orthodontic Appliances Used in Phase One Treatment

Phase one treatment can include a variety of orthodontic appliances. Some appliances might be used to move teeth to straight positions while others, such as palatal expanders, can assist with establishing proper jaw alignment and creating room for permanent teeth. Other patients might need braces on their most visible teeth during tooth transition. Appliances that hold teeth in position during tooth transition are commonly used as well.

Early interceptive orthodontics is highly individualized. Your child’s treatment is tailored to his or her unique needs and could differ substantially from another patient’s. Our family-friendly practice is accepting new patients. Call Mascola Orthodontics to schedule a consultation for your child.

Common Questions about Early Orthodontic Treatment
What's the youngest age to get braces?

The American Dental Association and the American Association of Orthodontists recommend that children see an orthodontist by the age of seven. If a young patient presents orthodontic issues or a malocclusion, an orthodontist might recommend early orthodontic treatment. Some patients might begin wearing orthodontic appliances in childhood during tooth transition (the period when adult teeth are slowly replacing baby teeth).

Early orthodontic intervention is advantageous for correcting issues with the bite. This is because a child’s facial bones are still growing and orthodontic appliances such as palatal expanders can be used to create more room for incoming teeth. After the first phase of treatment is complete, a patient will normally end up wearing Invisalign or conventional braces as a young teen. When orthodontic issues are intercepted early on in childhood, many teens enjoy wearing braces for shorter time periods than patients who didn’t have early interceptive treatment.

What is the right age for orthodontic treatment?

The right age for orthodontic treatment varies from patient to patient. The best way to determine when to wear braces and other orthodontic appliances is best decided after an orthodontist has consulted with your child. We recommend scheduling orthodontic consultations by the age of seven. Checkups like these give you an opportunity to intercept and address potential issues early on, while teeth and jaws are still developing. In many cases, early treatment can shorten the time patients end up wearing traditional braces. It can also prevent damage caused by living with an improper occlusion (bite).

Is early orthodontic treatment safe for my child?

Early orthodontic treatment is safe for your child. In fact, treating orthodontic issues early on in childhood improves a child’s oral health and quality of life for decades to come. Intercepting orthodontic problems early also reduces treatment times for future orthodontic care and can reduce overall oral healthcare costs.

Professional dental societies recommend that children first see an orthodontist by age seven. This recommendation is based on peer-reviewed, evidence-based research.

What is Phase One orthodontic treatment?

Phase one orthodontic treatment is also called early interceptive orthodontics. Breaking orthodontic care into phases offers numerous advantages to young patients. Phase one treatment takes advantage of the fact that bones are still growing and baby teeth are falling out during tooth transition. For example, this means that orthodontic appliances that help widen the palate can accommodate the arrival of new teeth and prevent crowding.

Early interceptive treatment can last for a year or two. Phase two consists of patients wearing braces during their teenage years. Many patients ultimately enjoy reduced treatment times in phase two of their orthodontic treatment.