Also called “Phase I orthodontics” or “children’s orthodontics,” early orthodontics addresses issues before a patient has all of their adult teeth.
When Should a Child First See an Orthodontist?
According to the American Association of Orthodontists, children should be seen by an orthodontist around age 7. Seeing a child this young ensures any issues are caught and can be corrected while the child’s teeth and jaws are still developing.
Kids' orthodontics can help:
- Expand a narrow top jaw
- Create additional space for incoming adult teeth
- Hold space for incoming adult teeth
- Properly align jaws
- Promote airway development for children with breathing issues and mouth breathers
Why Start Treatment So Young?
While any orthodontic issue can be corrected later in life, many can be fixed more easily if they are addressed when the patient is younger. For example, expanding the jaw while it is still growing can be accomplished with a palatal expander instead of surgery. And creating additional space for adult teeth before they arrive can eliminate the need for pulling teeth or surgical procedures to bring down trapped teeth, and reduce the amount of shifting needed to get proper spacing.
Another benefit of visiting an orthodontist at a young age is it provides a complete record of your child’s oral development. An orthodontist who has watched your child’s progression for a few years will have a better understanding of why their teeth are situated where they are and have more insight into how to treat them compared to a patient they are seeing for the first time as a teen.
The last benefit is your child will be comfortable with seeing Dr. Shelley and her staff if treatment is eventually necessary.
Early Orthodontics Can Be Easier on Your Budget
Which is less expensive, having a palatal expander or jaw surgery? If you guessed the expander, you are right. Correcting orthodontic issues earlier in life is not just less invasive, it can also be more cost-effective.
Tracking the progression of your child’s teeth also gives you an idea of the kind of treatment they may need later, which allows you time to fit braces or Invisalign into your budget.
At Tretter Orthodontics, we provide exams free of charge to our younger patients until treatment is needed and will stay in contact with your child's dentist regarding treatment decisions. If treatment is never necessary, there is no cost to you.
We look forward to partnering with you to protect and promote your child's health.