How Do I Know If My Child Needs Early Phase Braces?
The average age that a child will get their braces on is between 11 & 12. Sometimes we see children as young as 6 or 7 with a full set of braces on. Some may think that the parents of these children just wanted to start the process early, or that it is some kind of trend. However, some children truly benefit from early orthodontic treatment, reducing future pain and expensive complications. As time goes on, we, as orthodontists, are getting better at identifying these special cases in a timely manner.
How do I know if my child is a candidate for two-phase treatment?
As young as six years old, we can identify when a child has serious issues with their jaw alignment. These children need something we like to refer to as “two-phase” braces. This means that their orthodontic treatment will be completed with two phases and two sets of braces. If your child has severe jaw alignment issues, having two-phase treatment will reduce their need for surgeries, extractions, and other costly and severe treatments later on in life.
What happens during the first phase?
The first phase of treatment takes place while your child has both baby and adult teeth. Typically, children who go through two-phase treatment start phase one around the age of 7 or 8. For most cases, the first set of braces is left on for 12-18 months. This set of braces will correct functional and skeletal problems, such as overcrowding. After the first phase is complete, there is a period of rest as we wait for the remaining adult teeth to grow in.
What happens during phase two?
The second phase of treatment begins only when your child has all of their adult teeth. With phase one being complete, the jaw is already in a better position and each of their adult teeth has its own space. During the second phase, your child’s orthodontist can focus on the aesthetics of your child’s smile!