Why would my child need to see an orthodontist if they still have baby teeth?
In some instances we may recommend early treatment (also called Phase I
treatment) to encourage healthy growth and development of your child’s teeth and
jaws. With early treatment we can create space for the permanent teeth to erupt in
a better position, or to correct discrepancies.
The goals of early treatment may include the prevention of severe crowding or
impaction of the permanent teeth, correction of asymmetric or unfavorable jaw
growth, and improvement in your child’s facial profile.
At Forest Hills Orthodontists, we understand how a child’s smile can affect their self-confidence.
A first consultation between the ages of 7 and 8 years old can help determine the need for early treatment for your child. If ‘buck teeth’ or ‘snaggle teeth’ are preventing your child from smiling, our specialists are confident early treatment will boost their self-confidence and give them a reason to smile!
There may be underlying issues worth discovering
Even if your child’s teeth ‘look normal,’ there are several conditions for which Phase I treatment may be recommended. The most common issues that are treated in Phase I include:
Posterior Cross Bite
The top teeth are fitting inside the bottom teeth instead of outside.
Anterior Cross Bite
One or more top front teeth are tucked behind the bottom front teeth. This may occur for a single tooth or for a group of teeth. A group of teeth in cross-bite may indicate a bottom jaw that is much larger than the top jaw.
One or more adult teeth are unable to erupt in their normal place.
Anterior Open Bite
Often resulting from a thumb/finger sucking or tongue thrusting habit; when the back teeth are biting down the front teeth do not touch.
Excess OverBite / Overjet
Top teeth are almost completely overlapping the bottom teeth/top teeth are sticking out much further than the bottom teeth. This may indicate a top jaw that is much larger than the bottom jaw.
Common Phase I Appliances
Retainer With Springs
Lower Lip Bumper
Lower Lingual Holding Arch
The concept behind Phase 1 is that if we intervene early while a child is still growing, we have greater ability to improve
the growth and development of the teeth and jaws.
Ready for comprehensive treatment
Even though all the teeth may not be perfectly aligned, not every patient requires Phase I treatment. Patients who do not need Phase I treatment are recommended to enter our recall program, where they visit us every 6-12 months. At these visits, our specialists monitor the growth of the jaws and the eruption of the permanent teeth until your child is ready for comprehensive treatment (what most people think of as braces or orthodontic treatment). At the end of this phase of treatment, you should expect your picture-perfect smile!