When you look at your child, you marvel at how much they’ve grown and yet how small they still seem to you. They’ve lost some baby teeth, but they have plenty more to go. During one of their dental checkups, your pediatric dentist strongly recommends meeting with an orthodontist to start what’s called Phase 1 orthodontics—basically braces with baby teeth. It’s natural to wonder whether it’s too soon. Before you begin this treatment, you should know more about it, why and how it works, and the benefits of starting early for some kids.
Why Would Braces on Baby Teeth Be Necessary?
In some situations, braces become necessary even sooner than middle school. At this early stage, it can be apparent to a board-certified orthodontist that a child will have or already has alignment issues. In fact, the American Association of Orthodontists, as well as the American Dental Association, recommends that you take your child to an orthodontist around the time they turn seven years old.
There are various signs that point to the need for Phase 1 orthodontics, including overcrowded or crooked baby teeth, bite problems with baby teeth, and more. Sometimes, the need for early intervention are easy to spot, but there could be signs of trouble that are more subtle, which is why your child should be examined at this young age.
How Does Phase 1 Orthodontics Work?
If your child is a good candidate for Phase 1 orthodontics, brackets and wire will be placed on their teeth. The tension in the wire will cause the teeth to shift as their face and jaw develops, making additional room in the arch and realigning their teeth. This procedure can last between six months to a couple of years, depending on the severity of the issue.
It’s important to keep in mind that your child’s teeth may not be perfectly straight by the end of Phase 1 treatment. Your child may have reached a point in their development where they have to wait to start Phase 2 later.
What Can Phase 1 Orthodontics Do?
By getting a head start on severe misalignment, Phase 1 orthodontics can reduce the amount of time your child needs to spend in braces later in life. In some cases, braces on baby teeth can resolve the alignment problems without having to advance to Phase 2, but in many cases, follow-up braces are necessary to make a child’s smile perfectly straight after all or most of their adult teeth have erupted.
Phase 1 orthodontics, or braces on baby teeth, may seem crazy, but fixing certain problems with baby teeth can help the permanent teeth be better aligned. In the long term, this early start can give your child a lifetime of healthy, straight smiles overall!
About the Practice
At KidSmiles Dental and Orthodontics, we proudly serve patients of all ages and encourage patients who are seven years old to visit with our orthodontist, Dr. Kim Rogers. Not only is she board certified, but she is also a Diplomate of the American Board of Orthodontists, a distinction only about 30 percent of orthodontists earn. If you would like to schedule an appointment with Dr. Rogers, you can contact our Flower Mound office at 972-884-5450 or visit our Contact Us page here.