Here at Chamberlain Family Orthodontics, we know that you only want the best for your child. That includes a healthy mouth and beautiful smile! It can be difficult to determine if, when, and what kind of orthodontic treatment your child may need, but our expert team is here to provide you with trusted and reliable information. Keep reading below to learn what a long-term plan for your child’s orthodontic care might look like!
What is the first step in a child’s orthodontic journey?
The first step in any smile journey is a consultation with a qualified orthodontic specialist. At our Redlands and Beaumont offices, this initial consultation is complimentary. Although there’s no minimum age for a child to have their first visit with us, the American Association of Orthodontists (AAO) recommends all children have an orthodontic consultation by around seven years old. This doesn’t mean every child will need treatment at that time! This early assessment simply provides our doctors with a better understanding of your child’s unique orthodontic needs.
Most children will have a mix of baby and permanent teeth at this stage in their development. An examination in early childhood allows us to find, diagnose, and treat many common orthodontic issues before they have the chance to become more serious. This can reduce the need for more intensive treatment at a later age. By taking a proactive approach, we can ensure children receive the orthodontic care they need at the most advantageous time. This type of early intervention is known as Phase I treatment. With it, we can achieve results that may not be possible once a child’s face and jaws have finished growing.
Who is a good fit for Phase I treatment?
Children grow at different rates, and their smiles do, too! That means the best age to begin orthodontic treatment will vary from child to child. This is one reason the AAO recommends early evaluations—it lets orthodontists like Dr. Chamberlain determine how and when a young patient’s specific needs should be treated for maximum impact and minimal time and expense.
Children will sometimes exhibit early signs of jaw problems as they grow and develop. For example, Dr. A had an open bite and tongue thrust as a young child that Dr. C treated early with Phase I and Phase II treatment! When orthodontic issues like these are found in kids over seven years old, they’ll often be good candidates for interceptive (or preventative) treatment. If we notice any of the following issues in your child during their examination, Dr. Chamberlain may recommend Phase I treatment.
- Large gaps
- Open bite
- Tooth flaring or protruding upper front teeth
- Severe crowding
- Severe rotations
- Premature loss of baby teeth
- Speech difficulties
- Mouth breathing while sleeping
- Thumb-sucking habit
- Extended pacifier use
Under Dr. Chamberlain’s expert guidance, Phase I treatment will help a child’s jaws develop so that they can better accommodate all the permanent teeth. It will also improve how the upper and lower jaws fit together. This method of treatment has many benefits, including a reduced risk of oral health issues in the future caused by crowding, misalignment, or malformed jaws. It can even improve a child’s ability to bite and chew more effectively!
How does Phase I treatment work?
During Phase I treatment, Dr. Chamberlain will use fixed or removable orthodontic appliances with one or both jaws. For younger patients who demonstrate a clear need for early intervention, Phase I allows Dr. Chamberlain to influence jaw growth and create additional space for developing teeth. This treatment approach can also:
- harmonize the width of the dental arches
- decrease the risk of trauma to protruding upper front teeth
- reduce the likelihood of impacted permanent teeth
- correct or eliminate harmful oral habits
- improve certain speech problems
- improve aesthetics and self-esteem
- simplify or shorten treatment if later orthodontic treatment is needed
Once Phase I treatment is complete, a period of observation will follow. Retainers are used during this time to provide extra support in between Phase I and Phase II treatment. We will continue to see the patient in our Beaumont or Redlands office every 4-6 months so that Dr. Chamberlain can monitor their growth and development in addition to the eruption of the permanent teeth.
Phase I treatment contributes to the long-term stability of a patient’s smile, and Phase II treatment continues to expand on this foundation with a focus on bite correction and smile esthetics. Dr. Chamberlain will prescribe traditional braces, InBrace lingual braces, or Invisalign clear aligners to finish moving the teeth into their final optimal positions for a beautiful smile!
Chamberlain Family Orthodontics 7&Up Club
Our practice is excited to help children in our community achieve their healthiest smiles with our 7&Up Club. If your child doesn’t need orthodontic treatment immediately following their consultation with Dr. Chamberlain, we will still have fun together through the years! Joining our 7&Up Club will help kids build healthy oral habits and let us monitor their smiles as they grow. If treatment is indicated, Dr. Chamberlain will create a customized plan for your child and walk you through the available treatment options.
Give Your Child’s Smile the Best Start with Chamberlain Family Orthodontics
You’ll never find any “cookie-cutter” treatment plans at Chamberlain Family Orthodontics. We know that your child’s smile is as unique as they are, and what works for one patient won’t always be a good fit for another. That’s why Dr. Chamberlain will always create a personalized treatment plan for your child based on their specific needs, goals, and lifestyle.