Childhood orthodontia happens in two phases. Phase one happens between ages six and ten, and is all about preventing problems before they happen.
It’s a pretty common myth that baby teeth don’t matter very much. After all, they’re just temporary anyway. Worrying about dental work—especially orthodontia—doesn’t seem all that important.
There are three huge reasons why this is a problem:
- Baby teeth may eventually be replaced by an adult set, but this doesn’t happen for years. Most children don’t lose their last baby teeth until they’re as old as twelve. That’s a long time to have to live with broken, decaying, or painful teeth.
- The health of the adult teeth are directly affected by the positioning and health of the baby teeth before them.
- The transition between baby teeth and adult teeth is a time of flexibility. Everything is still growing and settling. What better time to make needed adjustments?
All of this is why Hi 5 takes young orthodontic patients. If we can spot potential problems before they become serious, we can prevent poor alignments before they set, which dramatically reduces the work necessary in Phase II.
This second phase is the one you’re probably more familiar with. When you think about teens wearing braces, you’re thinking of phase II orthodontia. The teen years are still a time with a lot of jaw growth, development, and change, so it is ideal for setting permanent teeth, once they come in. See our pages about teen Invisalign or braces for more about this phase.
FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS
When your child has lost most of his or her baby teeth, and most of those big ol’ grown up teeth start to appear (usually between 6-8), you can start thinking about braces! But we’re not even a little ageist here at Hi 5 – feel free to bring your child in any time for questions you have about braces.
The purpose of early evaluation is to inform and observe, more than to start treatment. At this early age, the eventual needs may be identified and discussed. A small percentage of this young group may need some form of intervention. Habits are evaluated, medical issues are discussed and an observation schedule is arranged. For more information, (American Association of Orthodontists). www.braces.org (American Association of Orthodontists)
Children facing the following dental problems should consult an orthodontist:
- Misaligned or crowded teeth
- Irregular loss of teeth
- Difficulty in eating
- Mouth breathing
- Finger sucking
- Cheek biting
- Shifting and noisy jaws
- Poor dental hygiene resulting in tooth shifting
This depends heavily on the child, the case complexity and the root cause of the misaligned or spaced teeth / jaw.
However, children between 9 and 14 who have lost most of their primary teeth and have at least some permanent teeth are often good candidates to get braces.
Braces are not painful when getting placed on the teeth. So don’t be nervous about your appointment. We’ll help you through to make it as painless and stress-free as possible.
In the long run, braces can cause mild soreness and some degree of discomfort after the braces start to do their job and your teeth start moving into their final location. Your lips and cheeks can also take some getting used to the new metal in your mouth. But have no fear: Most pain and discomfort is mild and temporary. It’s all a part of the process!