Fort Myers Orthodontics Early Orthodontic Treatment
Children should have a first appointment with our orthodontist at around age seven. By this age, most children have a good mix of permanent teeth and baby teeth. This allows Dr. Favalli to diagnose and correct tooth and jaw problems often without surgery.
Certain situations, such as an underbite, overbite, or jaw growth problems, are far more easily resolved with early treatment. A first appointment allows us to evaluate your child’s jaw and teeth, and whether orthodontic treatment will be needed. At Lakes Park Children’s Dentistry & Orthodontics, we provide dental and orthodontic care for children of all ages.
The American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry urges parents to get a child the first dental appointment just after your child’s baby teeth have arrived. Healthy teeth and a beautiful smile are one of the foundations of a healthy, happy life. As a Board Certified Pediatric Dentist and Orthodontic Specialist, Dr. Oliver Favalli has dedicated his practice to treating children from toddlers to teenagers and beyond!
Phase I and Phase II:
Orthodontic Treatment for Children
There are two phases in child orthodontic treatment: Phase I and Phase II. Early orthodontic treatment can begin at eight or nine years old, or Phase I. Treatment can include expansion (so teeth grow in without crowding), retainers, or partial braces. For some children, Phase I may be all that is needed! For others, at about eleven years old, Phase II treatment can begin.
Phase II involves placing braces to correct crooked, crowded or misaligned teeth. Modern orthodontics have come a long way, and braces are far sleeker, smaller, and more comfortable than ever before. Options include braces that are almost invisible to the eye, and metal braces that are attached to the back of the teeth (called lingual braces), rather than the front, as well as traditional metal braces and ceramic braces.
Signs Your Child May Need Early Orthodontic Treatment
As a parent, you may have concerns about your child’s dental health, particularly if you needed braces as a child. Be on the lookout for these teeth and jaw problems that could indicate that your child needs early orthodontic treatment:
- Your child loses his or her baby teeth either earlier or later than normal (most children begin losing baby teeth at about five years old, and have all of their permanent teeth by about age thirteen).
- Your child breathes through the mouth.
- The thumb-sucking habit has continued past five years of age.
- Your child has a speech impediment, or trouble producing certain sounds correctly.
- Your child’s teeth protrude, top or bottom, or both.
- Your child’s teeth don’t meet as they should, or don’t meet at all.
- You notice that your child shifts the jaw when opening or closing the mouth (called a crossbite).
- Your child’s teeth are too crowded, top or bottom, or both.
Why Treat a Child Early?
Young children have softer bones, as the jaw structure and teeth are in the process of growing and shifting. The jaw then hardens during the teenage years. There are some important advantages to treating a child before this occurs. We urge you to have a first orthodontic evaluation when your child is seven or eight as in many cases, early treatment can mean better, faster results, at a lower cost. Early identification of any issues can help to avoid the need for orthodontic treatments as an adult, or the need to extract teeth, or surgery.
Common Problems Requiring Early Orthodontic Treatment
Some of the common problems we see at our practice can usually be corrected more easily and quickly with early orthodontic treatment. These include:
- Crowded teeth
- Large spaces between teeth
- Jaw growth issues
- Protruding teeth
- Crooked teeth
- Overlapping teeth
- Jaw and teeth problems from thumb-sucking
Why Choose Us for Early Orthodontic Treatment?
At Lakes Park Children’s Dentistry & Orthodontics, we have dedicated our practice to helping the children in Ft. Myers and surrounding communities. We care about our patients, and understand how children think and act, particularly with regard to dentistry. We do everything we can to make the entire process easy, from start to finish. We are 100% kid-friendly!
We care about parents too, and offer some exceptional financing options so that dental and orthodontic treatments are made affordable. Dr. Oliver’s training in pediatric dentistry and orthodontics is above and beyond what you will find at many dental practices. He studied an additional three years after becoming certified as a pediatric dentist, just so he could give his young patients the absolute best in care, and the most effective treatments.
Dental health starts early, particularly when orthodontic treatment is necessary. We invite you to contact us to set a first appointment. We look forward to meeting you!