As a parent, you always want what’s best for your child. When it comes to taking care of their teeth, we know you’re modeling good oral hygiene by brushing and flossing with your child. You’re probably also taking them to the dentist regularly, which means you’re on the right track!
What you might not know is that your child should visit their orthodontist by age seven, according to the American Association of Orthodontists. This age is earlier than most parents typically expect, but with early intervention comes happy smiles. There are so many benefits of early orthodontic treatment for children, so keep reading to learn what the team at DiMarzio Orthodontics can do to help your child’s smile!
All About Early Orthodontic Treatment
Early intervention is one of our best tools 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 the smile they deserve.
Two-Phase Orthodontic Treatment
Although we call this system two-phase treatment, there are actually three parts to the entire process: Phase I, Retention, and Phase II.
Phase I: 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 DiMarzio 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.
Retention: After Phase I treatment is complete, your child will enter a rest phase called retention. They’ll wear a retainer during this phase to keep their teeth in position. This resting period gives your child’s permanent teeth the chance to grow.
They’ll also meet with Dr. DiMarzio or Dr. Marczak every six to twelve months so that our team can monitor their progress to determine whether phase II treatment will be necessary.
Phase II: 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. DiMarzio or Dr. Marczak apply 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.
Benefits of Early Orthodontic Treatment
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 DiMarzio Orthodontics.
Longer-Lasting Smile Results!
For patients with more complex dental issues, two-phase treatment can help give your child the 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.
No More Thumb-Sucking!
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.
The Power of the Confidence Boost!
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.
Healthier Teeth Overall!
This benefit applies to anyone of any age who chooses to straighten their teeth at DiMarzio 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.
Set Your Child Up for Success at DiMarzio Orthodontics
Early intervention paves the path for your child’s adult teeth to grow in straighter overall. Two-phase treatment gives patients with more complex developmental issues the possibility of happier smiles with longer-lasting results. If your child is seven or above and hasn’t seen an orthodontist yet, schedule their free consultation with Dr. DiMarzio or Dr. Marczak in Quincy today!