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Health Matters

Your Child's First Orthodontics Visit

March 1st, 2013

By: Dr. Saleh Al-Daghreer 

When and why should my child visit an Orthodontist?

The optimal time to visit an orthodontist is usually at the age of six years. At this age, permanent teeth start to erupt and facial growth starts to express the jaw relationship.

The majority of children do not require treatment at this age but for some children, orthodontic problems are easier to correct if they are treated early. Children with craniofacial anomalies, progressive growth problems, or cleft lip and palate will need a different approach with early orthodontic treatment.

Orthodontists are dental specialists and are trained to assess facial growth and dental occlusion (bite) development. An early consultation for your child can give the orthodontist the best chance to guide jaw growth, correct harmful oral habits, and guide permanent teeth into a more favourable position.

What treatment could my child require?

Children and young adolescents are usually treated with one of two options:

Option one is called One-Phase Treatment - Treatment begins just before the eruption of the last permanent tooth (12 year molars). This treatment consists of braces, an appliance or both. Treatment time can range from 14-24 months depending on the severity of the case.

Option two is Two-Phase Treatment - Treatment consists of two phases. The first phase (Phase-I) can start anytime from the age of seven years old up to 10 years of age. This phase will include a treatment with an appliance, partial braces or both. Phase-I will aim to correct jaw relationship by modifying the growth of the jaws, manage space problems or facilitate and guide the eruption of permanent teeth. Phase-II commences when the child has all the permanent teeth present and usually will consist of full braces with or without an appliance. The goals of these two phases are obviously different but they complement each other for optimum results. 

As a parent you may ask what treatment is best for my child. Will my child need one or two phases of treatment? Will my child require early treatment? All these questions are simply dependent on each individual's pattern of growth and dental occlusion status (dental bite) and can usually be answered during the consultation.

Your family dentist is usually the first one to advise you that it's time for your child to be referred for an orthodontic consultation. Sometimes, parents may notice things like flared teeth, crooked teeth, spacing problems, delayed teeth etc., which are all good reasons to seek a consultation. The orthodontist will advise you based on the clinical examination and records if the child needs to start one- or two-phase treatment or whether he/she will be placed on a recall list to assess later when the child is at the optimum age for treatment.

In summary, as a parent we can take the following measures to ensure the dental health and well-being of our children:

  • Regular visits to the dentist.
  • Seek a consultation with an orthodontist based on your dentist's recommendation.
  • If you have specific concern after the age of six years old and at least before the age of eight years, it is advisable to book a consultation with an orthodontist as soon as possible.

You can call and book an appointment for an orthodontic consultation at any time; you do not need a referral from your family dentist.

 

Dr. Saleh Al-Daghreer DDS PhD. F.R.C.D.(C) is a board certified orthodontist at Central

Alberta Orthodontics in Red Deer. He achieved his Fellowship in Orthodontics by the Royal

College of Dentists in Canada and is a proud member of the Canadian Association of

Orthodontists, Canadian Dental Association, American Association of Orthodontics, Alberta

Dental Association and the Alberta Society of Orthodontics. He also serves as a clinical

instructor in the Department of Clinical Dentistry at the University of Alberta. He can be

reached at 403-346-7279 or visit www.centralalbertaortho.me. 

Tags: health

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