As a parent, it probably doesn’t surprise you that every child grows differently. From random growth spurts to slower growers, children are all unique, and their orthodontic care should reflect that. The best way to help your child grow with the flow is to bring them in for a free consultation at KBL Orthodontics sooner rather than later.
Why? According to the American Association of Orthodontists, children should visit a certified orthodontist like Dr. Katie Lewis by the time they turn seven to get a headstart on their straight smile. For some kids, this is just a routine checkup. For others, it’s the start of their treatment journey. Either way, there are so many benefits of early orthodontic treatment for children, and we’re here to tell you how it could make or break your child’s smile. Let’s get started.
Early Intervention 101
Early intervention is one of the best tools KBL Orthodontics has for addressing crooked, crowded, or misaligned teeth at an early age. When your child visits our office for their initial consultation, we’ll complete an oral exam to assess their current condition. While your child’s jaw is developing, a trained orthodontist can easily track this progress for future treatment or decide if early intervention is a necessary step of their straight smile journey.
Not all children require early treatment, but for those who do, we use a two-phase system to address their unique problems and give them a smile they deserve.
Reasons Why Early Treatment Works
There are so many benefits of orthodontic treatment for patients of any age, but for children who need early treatment, the results are even more apparent! From the confidence boost of a happy smile to the long-lasting straight teeth they deserve, you and your child will appreciate two-phase treatment from KBL Orthodontics.
Kicking the Thumb-Sucking Habit
Many children use pacifiers or thumb-sucking as a way to self-soothe in times of stress, but after a certain age, these habits can harm their teeth and their social development! If you’re a parent struggling to get your child to stop sucking their thumb, braces may be the answer!
Orthodontic appliances make it more difficult for children to continue these bad habits, and they even correct the bite problems caused by thumb-sucking.
Many kids struggle with self-confidence as they navigate the world of elementary school, friends, and growing up. That’s enough to deal with as-is, and worrying about the look of their smile shouldn’t be on this list!
Early orthodontic treatment can help children with crooked or spaced smiles feel more confident in their own skin.
Their Smiles Last Longer
For patients with more complex dental issues, two-phase treatment can help give your child a straight smile they’ll be proud of without running as much of a risk of their teeth shifting to their old positions post-treatment. Because there are two separate treatment periods, your child’s teeth are more likely to settle in straight than with one treatment session later in their lives.
Oral Health Boost
This benefit applies to anyone of any age who chooses to straighten their teeth at KBL Orthodontics, but the earlier, the better! Crooked or crowded teeth create more tiny crevices for bad bacteria to thrive. These spaces are harder to reach with a toothbrush or floss, so if your child has misaligned teeth, they may suffer from having more cavities than normal. Straightening their teeth is the best bet at preventing cavities and other oral problems down the road.
Although we call this system a two-phase treatment, there are actually three parts to the entire process: Phase I, Retention, and Phase II.
Phase I Treatment
For the ten percent of children who require it, phase I treatment can begin as early as age seven and works best when your child’s baby teeth are still present. The goal is that by guiding their baby teeth in line, their permanent teeth are more likely to follow that path in the future.
If your child requires phase I treatment, our KBL Orthodontics team will design a unique treatment plan tailor-made for their needs. Treatment options may include expanders for overbites, a Herbst appliance for underbites, or even an early round of metal braces. For most patients, Phase I treatment lasts between six and twelve months. However, this timeline varies from patient to patient, depending on their unique needs.
After Phase I treatment is complete, your child will enter a rest phase called retention. They’ll wear a retainer to keep their teeth in position during this phase. This resting period gives your child’s permanent teeth the chance to grow.
They’ll also meet with Dr. Katie Lewis every six to twelve months so that our team can monitor their progress to determine whether phase II treatment will be necessary.
Phase II Treatment
Now that both Phase I and the retention phase are complete, you should already see progress in your child’s smile. For some children, Phase I treatment is all they need for their permanent teeth to grow in correctly, but most children require Phase II treatment for the best results. Phase II treatment looks much more like the traditional treatment you see during the teenage years. Typically, Dr. Katie Lewis applies metal braces to the top and bottom teeth. This process helps fine-tune your child’s smile, giving them results that will last a lifetime.
Jumpstart Your Child’s Smile
At KBL Orthodontics, we believe that your child deserves the best care possible. Part of making sure that happens is getting your child to visit our office as soon as possible. By tracking your child’s growth progress, we can start treatment at the most efficient time to give them a smile they will love.