The Canadian Association of Orthodontists recommends that each child should be seen by an orthodontic specialist around age 7. At this point in the child’s development, all the baby teeth should have come through. The orthodontist will be able to determine how the teeth, jaw and whole face have formed. During this early appointment it will be possible to identify any potential problems and begin forming a plan of treatment.
Phase 1 orthodontics is used before all permanent teeth have emerged and the child still retains some baby teeth. Phase 2 is if all the permanent teeth have surfaced.
It may seem harmless for the initial teeth to be misaligned, but that is not true. The initial teeth are critical to forming the path for permanent teeth, as well as allowing the child to eat, speak and breath with comfort.
If orthodontic measures are recommended, they will usually begin with braces or a simpler appliance. With early intervention the overall program can be shortened by solving the problems in a timely manner and preventing future issues.
Does my child need Phase 1 orthodontics?
There are several conditions under which a child will greatly benefit by early intervention using Phase 1 orthodontics:
- Crooked, crowded or gapped teeth
- Protruding teeth
- Habits that can affect dental issues such as thumb sucking
- Issues speaking
- Breathing issues
- Jaw seems out of proportion to the rest of the head
- Incoming permanent teeth are obstructed by baby teeth
- Misaligned bite