Orthodontic treatment for children
We want all our patients to have a smile they can be proud of, and that includes our younger patients too. At Fillman Orthodontics, we have worked hard to create an orthodontic office environment where children feel comfortable, either waiting for older siblings to have treatment or having treatment themselves.
We offer an early orthodontic consultation for children to assess what, if any, orthodontic needs they may have in the future.
Early orthodontic consultation
The American Association of Orthodontists recommends children have a consultation with an orthodontist by the age of seven. This is advisable to determine if treatment is required and when would be the best time for treatment.
By the age of seven, a child usually has their first permanent molars and incisors. This allows Dr Fillman to look for any signs of malocclusion (bad bites). With these teeth in place, he can identify any crossbites, crowding, or other potential problems that may arise.
If you can start your child with orthodontic treatment early, we have a better chance of guiding the growth of your child’s jaw and incoming permanent teeth. Other benefits of early treatment include:
- regulating the width of the upper and lower dental arches
- gaining space for permanent teeth
- avoiding the need for permanent tooth extractions
- reducing the likelihood of impacted permanent teeth
- correcting thumb sucking
- eliminating abnormal swallowing or speech problems.
In other words, early treatment can simplify treatment later.
If you bring your child in for an early consultation, treatment won’t necessarily start straight away. Instead, the consultation and dental records taken will be used to plan for – and reduce – future treatment.
For some children, Dr Fillman may recommend treatment begins early with the two-phase treatment approach.
Two-phase orthodontic treatment is a specialized process that combines tooth straightening and physical, facial changes. The purpose of two-phase treatment is to maximize the opportunity to accomplish the ideal healthy, functional, and aesthetic result that will remain stable throughout your child's life.
Putting off treatment can result in a need for more invasive treatment later in life that may not completely fix your child's smile. Early treatment is most effective for achieving lasting results.
The goal of Phase One treatment is to help the jaw develop in a way that will accommodate all the permanent teeth and improve the way the upper and lower jaws fit together. Children often exhibit early signs of jaw problems as they grow and develop. An upper jaw that is growing too much or is too narrow can be recognized at an early age. If children over the age of six are found to have this jaw discrepancy, they are candidates for early orthodontic treatment. Also, if children around the age of eight have crowded front teeth, early treatment can prevent the need to extract permanent teeth later.
Orthodontic records will be necessary to determine the type of appliances to be used, the duration of treatment time, and the frequency of visits. Records consist of models of the teeth, x-rays, and photographs. During your child's initial consultation, Dr Fillman will take records to determine if early treatment is necessary.
The goal of the second phase is to make sure each tooth has an exact location in the mouth where it is in harmony with the lips, cheeks, tongue, and other teeth. When this equilibrium is established, the teeth will function together properly. Phase Two usually involves full upper and lower braces.
At the beginning of the first phase, orthodontic records were made and a diagnosis and treatment plan were established. Certain types of appliances were used in the first phase to correct and realign the teeth and jaw. The second phase begins when all permanent teeth have erupted, and usually requires braces on all the teeth for an average of 24 months. Retainers are worn after this phase to ensure your child retains his or her beautiful smile.
Want to give your child’s teeth the best start in life? Book an early consultation with Dr Fillman in Yucaipa today.