Early Orthodontics

Phase One Treatment

Even though an orthodontist can enhance a smile at any age, there is an optimal time to begin treatment. The American Association of Orthodontists recommends the initial evaluation should occur at the first sign of orthodontic problems or no later than age 7. At this early age, treatment may not be necessary, but a consultation can anticipate the most best time to begin treatment.

There are some teeth and jaw issues that require early orthodontic treatment even though your child may have baby teeth. This type of early treatment is called Phase I treatment. It is limited orthodontic treatment (i.e., palate expanders, partial braces, space maintainers) before all of the permanent teeth have erupted.

The goal of Phase 1 treatment is to correct the growth of the jaw and certain bite problems, and to make room for permanent teeth to come in properly. Phase I treatment creates a good foundation for the erupting adult teeth and corrects growth/jaw problems that would otherwise lead to adult tooth extractions, prolonged and complicated treatment times, and/or jaw surgery later.

Though many orthodontic problems can wait to be corrected after all the baby teeth have fallen out, there are some problems that are better corrected early. These problems can include:

  • Severe crowding
  • Crossbite
  • Narrow Jaws
  • Severely protruding teeth that are risk for trauma
  • Openbite
  • Underbite
  • Finger-sucking habit

However, most children do not need to have Phase 1 treatment. Rather than having multiple phases of braces, most children are best treated in a single stage of treatment, when most adult teeth have erupted (usually around ages 11&ndash13). At your consultation, Dr. Shinmachi will discuss the best treatment options for your child.

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Frequently asked questions about Early Orthodontics:

My child still has a lot of baby teeth. Isn’t it too early to see an orthodontist?

The American Association of Orthodontists (AAO) recommends a visit to your orthodontist by age 7. By this age, a child’s teeth and jaws have grown enough for an orthodontist to see how they will develop. Even though your child’s teeth may appear straight, Dr. Shinmachi is trained to look for potentially serious or hidden problems (e.g., impacted teeth).

What if my child is not ready for treatment?

If your child does not need any orthodontic treatment at the time of your first visit with us, your child will enter into our Mint Kid’s Club. In this program, your child will visit us about twice a year to observe the development and growth of their jaws and teeth. The Mint Kid’s Club program gives us the opportunity to assess your child’s growth and to make sure we begin treatment for your child at the optimal time. Best of all, our observation appointments for the Mint Kid’s Club are free!

Does my child need multiple phases of braces?

Most children do not need multiple phases of braces. There are many benefits to delaying treatment until most of the adult teeth have fully erupted (normally around 11–13 years old). At this point in time, jaw growth takes place more rapidly, resulting in more efficient and stable results.

When is the best time for orthodontic treatment?

Determining the best time for orthodontic treatment is unique. Dr. Shinmachi will coordinate with you, your child, and your family dentist to make sure that the optimal orthodontic treatment begins at the most advantageous time. Call us today for an appointment: Mint Orthodontics Somerville Orthodontic Office Phone Number (908) 526-0808.

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Call us: (908) 526-0808