When children as young as age seven begin to show signs of developing misalignment, treatment can be used to help guide the smile and protect them from major misalignment and malocclusion. To do so, we can provide Phase I orthodontics, such as retainers and space maintainers. In today’s blog, your Shirley, NY, pediatric dentist and orthodontist talks about the first phase of treatment.
Starting Your Child’s Treatment
If your little one begins to show signs of misalignment, or if during a checkup visit we identify risk factors for an even smile, we can start treatment. Phase I orthodontics can start around age seven. The purpose of the treatment is to help guide the growth and size of the jaw to ensure your little one’s smiles can accommodate the permanent teeth. In the process, this helps limit the severity of misalignment until we can completely correct the smile during the second phase of treatment. To begin, our team will gather detailed digital x-ray images of the smile to assess the risk for misalignment. We then use the images to help plan treatment and choose the most appropriate options to guide jaw growth and ensure permanent tooth eruption without complication.
Retainers are an oral appliance that is attached to one or both sides of the mouth, and is either fixed in place or removable. We craft them based on the detailed digital images and impressions we create of your child’s smile. We often prefer fixed to prevent them from being accidentally lost, as they are an investment. The retainers are designed to help guide jaw growth and to prevent major misalignment from occurring. Wen may recommend this for the years in which the baby teeth are being lost and the permanent ones are erupting.
Misalignment could occur if a primary tooth is lost too soon, as this changes how the permanent teeth erupt and leads to complications with smile alignment. But with a space maintainer, we have an oral appliance that keeps the teeth from shifting, so the area where the baby tooth is lost is kept open, allowing permanent teeth to erupt and fill the space without complications. These can be unilateral or bilateral, and again can be fixed in place or removable.
Once the permanent teeth all erupt and their surfaces properly calcify, we will complete treatment with Phase II, using braces or possibly even Invisalign® aligners.
Your Shirley, NY, Orthodontist and Pediatric Dentist Corrects Little Smiles
Our team wants to help your kids start their journey to an even and beautiful smile. To learn more about orthodontic treatment for kids of all ages, then contact Shirley Orthodontics and Pediatric Dentistry in Shirley, NY, by calling (631) 399-1600.