Some orthodontic issues are most efficiently and effectively resolved by splitting treatment into two phases. Early care can prevent future problems that need more invasive treatments. The American Association of Orthodontists recommends children get an orthodontic evaluation by age 7.
Our goal in Phase One is to guide jaw development so the upper and lower jaws align correctly and the mouth has sufficient space for all the permanent teeth to fit properly.
Childhood is an ideal time to begin Phase I because children's jawbones are still developing and respond well to interceptive treatment. By the end of a child’s teen years, the jawbones stop growing. Correcting jaw alignment later in life can be more invasive and more expensive.
Your orthodontist also ensures your child’s permanent teeth have a clear path into the mouth, which prevents them from becoming impacted or displaced.
A palatal expander simplifies and shortens your child’s treatment. Attached to the inside of the upper molars, the expander widens the upper jaw by exerting gentle, outward pressure. Expanders treat bite problems, address crowded or impacted teeth, improve breathing, and prevent extractions.
Once all of the permanent teeth have come in, around age 13, your child is ready for Phase Two. Using braces or clear aligners, Dr. Liy aligns the teeth so they look beautiful and the bite functions properly. After this happy phase, our patients are fitted with retainers to maintain the teeth in their healthy final position.
Most children lose all their baby teeth by age 13, and by the end of their teen years, the jaw bones stop growing. Orthodontic procedures for adults often take more time and can involve tooth extraction or oral surgery. Receiving early orthodontic treatment as a child can reduce the need for more invasive procedures.
If your child is seven or older, schedule an appointment for an evaluation. Dr. Liy will investigate whether early treatment makes sense for your child and will help you plan the next best steps on the path to a lifetime of smiles.