Though an orthodontist can improve a smile at any age, there is an optimal time period to begin treatment. The American Association of Orthodontists recommends that the initial orthodontic evaluation should occur at the first sign of orthodontic problems or no later than age 7.
By the age of 7, the first adult molars and incisors have erupted, establishing the child’s bite. During this time, an orthodontist can provide both timely detection of problems and greater opportunity for more effective treatment.
The goal of first phase treatment is to correct the relationship of the upper jaw to the lower jaw and to correct the jaw size in order to accommodate all the permanent teeth. Early treatment can simplify later treatment.
The orthodontist can guide the growth of the jaw and guide incoming permanent teeth. Commonly, interceptive treatment will correct crossbites that may cause facial asymmetries. Interceptive treatment also can prevent the need for permanent tooth extractions, reduce likelihood of impacted permanent teeth, correct thumb-sucking, eliminate abnormal swallowing or speech problems, and reducing the risk of trauma to protruding front teeth.
Two-Phase Orthodontic Treatment
Two-phase orthodontic treatment is a very specialized process that encompasses tooth straightening and physical, facial changes. The major advantage of a two-phase treatment is to maximize the opportunity to accomplish the ideal healthy, functional, aesthetic result that will remain stable throughout your life.