Most kids should see an orthodontist by age 7, and parents are often surprised when it’s suggested that treatment will need to be started to create more room in a child’s mouth due to overcrowding, bite problems, or a small jaw.
Why Some Children Need to Have Teeth Pulled
Before beginning their orthodontic treatment, some children may have to have their teeth pulled.
There are several reasons for this.
- First, some kids don’t lose their baby teeth in the normal order, which can cause problems when their adult teeth come in, including crowding. If adult teeth don’t erupt at the proper time, it can cause issues that will continue to cascade through their teen years and then into adulthood.
- Some children have narrow jaws. It’s not unusual for children to have jaws that are too small for all of their teeth. Remember, children have 20 baby teeth, and then they’ll lose those teeth between the ages of 6 and 12, when they are replaced by 32 adult teeth. Even when children grow during this period (and they grow quite a bit), they still may not have enough room for their teeth, and crowding will occur.
Two-phase Orthodontic Treatment for Children
One of the treatments for a too-small jaw is two-phase treatment. It’s become a very common procedure that expands a child’s jaw while helping to reduce the time necessary for orthodontic treatment in the future.
This treatment starts when your child is young—usually between the ages of 7-9. They will use an appliance, called an expander, which corrects problems, such as a narrow jaw. Your child will then get braces to position the adult teeth that are coming in. Following this phase, your child will grow (this part of the treatment is called the resting phase), lose all of their baby teeth, and all of their adult teeth will come in. When your child is between the ages of 11-13, phase two will begin. Phase two involves both upper and lower braces. Instead of four years of braces, which many adults remember from their youth, your children will have nearly half of that in treatment time by using your child’s natural growth as a part of the process.
Pittsburgh Orthodontist Treatment for Kids
King Orthodontics has successfully treated thousands of children and teenagers using the two-phase treatment. If your general dentist believes that your child’s teeth should be treated for crowding or bite problems, make an appointment to see us at our Wexford, Pittsburgh, or Bridgeville office. We can answer your questions and make sure that your child’s smile is both healthy and beautiful.