Early Orthodontics

Early Orthodontics

Early Orthodontics / Phase 1 (Ages 6-10)

The American Association of Orthodontists recommends that your child get an orthodontic check-up by age 7. Why is this? By age 7, your child has enough adult teeth to recognize if an orthodontic problem exists or is developing. Early treatment can correct and prevent problems that may not be possible once the face and jaws have finished growing.

This first check-up may reveal that your child’s bite is fine and that orthodontic treatment is not indicated at this time.

Or, Dr. Berger may identify a developing orthodontic problem and recommend monitoring your child’s dental development, until an appropriate time when treatment is indicated.

Lastly, if Dr. Berger identifies an orthodontic problem, he will recommend early treatment.

What is early treatment?

Early treatment, also known as Phase 1 treatment, can correct and prevent problems that may not be possible once the face and jaws have finished growing. If an orthodontic problem is identified early, Dr. Berger can recommend the appropriate treatment at the ideal time. In some cases, Dr. Berger may be able to achieve results that may not be possible once the face and jaws have finished growing.

Early orthodontic treatment can give Dr. Berger the chance to:

  • Guide jaw growth
  • Lower the risk of trauma to protruded front teeth
  • Correct harmful oral habits
  • Improve appearance and self-esteem
  • Guide permanent teeth into a more favorable position
  • Improve the way lips meet

Signs the Bite’s Not Right

It’s not always easy to tell when your child has an orthodontic problem. Even teeth that look straight may be hiding an unhealthy bite. Here are some clues that may indicate the need for orthodontic attention:

  • Early or late loss of baby teeth
  • Difficulty in chewing or biting
  • Breathing through the mouth
  • Thumb-sucking
  • Crowded, misplaced or blocked-out teeth
  • Jaws that are too far forward or back
  • Biting the cheek or biting into the roof of the mouth
  • Protruding teeth
  • Upper and lower teeth that don’t meet, or meet in an abnormal way
  • An unbalanced facial appearance
  • Grinding or clenching of the teeth

Snoring and mouth breathing in growing children can indicate an underlying problem.

A constricted airway can severely impact the growth and development of a child and should be considered when evaluating a child’s overall health. Dr. Berger evaluates the airway of every patient using i-CAT FLX (low dose 3D cone beam CT). If a child has a constricted airway, Dr. Berger initiates his airway protocol to take advantage of skeletal growth to expand the airway. This can often prevent sleep-disordered breathing and improve the overall health of a child.

How do I know if my child has a restricted airway?

  • Snoring
  • Bedwetting
  • Mood swings
  • Behavioral problems
  • Teeth grinding
  • Difficulty paying attention

In addition to a beautiful new smile, what are some other benefits of orthodontic treatment?

Braces can improve function of the bite and teeth.

Braces improve ability to clean the teeth.

Braces prevent wear on the teeth.

Braces increase the longevity of natural teeth over a lifetime.