Phase 1 vs Phase 2 Orthodontics
When To Visit The Orthodontist
Are you wondering when is the right time to take your child to the orthodontist? The American Association of Orthodontics (AAO) recommends taking your child in for an orthodontic screening by the age of seven. This is considered Phase 1: at age seven, teeth and jaws are developed enough to see serious future bite problems and identify teeth that are crooked. Research has shown that serious orthodontic problems can be more easily corrected when the patients' skeleton is still growing and flexible. Treatment does not typically need to be started at the age of seven but this gives the parents and dentist the time to watch the development of the teeth and bite and decide on the best mode of treatment.
By correcting skeletal problems at a young age, your orthodontist can prepare the mouth for the eventual eruption of the permanent teeth. If permanent teeth have adequate space to erupt in, they will come in fairly straight. If permanent teeth erupt fairly straight, then their tendency to become crooked again after braces are removed is diminished significantly.
After permanent teeth have erupted (phase 2, usually between the ages of 12—14), a complete set of braces are placed for the final alignment of bite and detailing of the permanent teeth. Teeth that were aligned properly when the child is younger make this final stage of treatment quicker and easier for patients. This phase typically lasts 12–18 months and is not started until all of the permanent teeth are in place.