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Orthodontic Care for Children: When Should They Receive It & What You Need to Consider

Getting an early orthodontic evaluation and treatment for your children is crucial for ensuring their oral health starts off on the right track.

If you have concerns about your child’s need for orthodontic treatment, we’re here to alleviate your worries. At Irvine Orthodontics and Children’s Dentistry our team is dedicated to ensuring your child is receiving the best possible pediatric dental care or orthodontic treatment in Irvine with the utmost care and patience. You might be wondering when your child should visit the orthodontist for the first time. In many cases, orthodontic issues are easier to correct when detected early.

How old should my child be when they visit the orthodontist for the first time?

It is recommended by the American Association of Orthodontists that children have their first evaluation by an orthodontist by the age of 7. While some children may not require treatment until they are between 11 to 13 years old, it’s important to have a thorough consultation and check-up around age 7 when the first permanent molars and incisors have typically emerged. This allows us to assess and monitor potential problems like crossbites, crowding, and other issues at an early stage.

You may wonder if the orthodontist can address bite problems while your child still has baby teeth. In certain cases, orthodontic problems can be significant enough to require intervention earlier than usual. This early treatment is known as Phase I treatment. However, if a patient is not yet ready for treatment, our pediatric dentistand orthodontist will closely monitor their growth and development until the appropriate time for treatment arises.

What does Phase I Treatment involve?

Phase I, also called early interceptive treatment, consists of limited forms of orthodontic treatment such as expanders or partial braces. These treatments are carried out before all the child’s permanent teeth have erupted. Typically, Phase I treatment begins between the ages of 6 and 10. Early treatment may be recommended to create more space for developing teeth or correct issues like crossbites, overbites, underbites, or harmful oral habits.

Do children who undergo Phase I Treatmentstill need full braces later?

In most cases, Phase I treatment is done in preparation for Phase II treatment, so it is highly likely that your child will eventually require full braces.

However, early treatment with a skilled and experienced pediatric dentist and orthodontist can greatly facilitate future orthodontic procedures. It helps regulate the width of the upper and lower dental arches, creates space for permanent teeth to emerge correctly, reduces the need for tooth extraction, lowers the likelihood of impacted permanent teeth, corrects thumb-sucking habits, and addresses abnormal speech or swallowing issues.

In essence, Phase I treatment sets the stage for a smoother and more efficient Phase II treatment, benefiting your child in the long run.

Which oral health issues can arise during early childhood?

There are numerous factors that may necessitate orthodontic treatment during a child’s early years, and early phase treatment can also help minimize or prevent the need for more invasive procedures as the child grows older. Our pediatric dentist in Irvine understands that each child is different and takes a personalized approach to catering to their oral health and specific case.

When orthodontic treatment is initiated at a young age, our Irvine orthodontist can actively guide the growth of both the jaw (Dentofacial Orthopedics) and the emerging permanent teeth.

The following issues can all be addressed through early (phase I) orthodontic interventions:

  • Thumb-sucking
  • Difficulties with chewing and breathing
  • Premature or delayed loss of baby teeth
  • Crowded, loose, or impacted teeth
  • Upper and lower teeth that do not meet properly
  • Improper alignment of the jaw
  • Tongue thrusting
  • Crossbites

Schedule a consultation with our Children’s Dentist in Irvine.

Are you prepared to enhance your child’s smile and oral health? We enthusiastically urge you to contact Irvine Orthodontics! Our dedicated team is eager to greet you at our clinic and support you in achieving your child’s oral health goals. We will support them throughout the entire process and cater to their specific needs while addressing any inquiries they may have.

To schedule a consultation, please feel free to call us, visit our website, or drop by our pediatric dentist office in Irvine. Our team is excitedly awaiting your visit!