Treatment for kids

Treatment for kids

Treatment for kids (not all permanent teeth are erupted)

Both the Canadian Association of Orthodontists and the American Association of Orthodontists recommend a child sees an orthodontist by age 7.

Orthodontic treatment can be accomplished in a single comprehensive treatment phase when all of the permanent teeth hare erupted or divided into two distinct treatment phases called phase 1 and 2 treatment, there is often a maintenance period between the two phases allowing for more permanent teeth to erupt. The number of phases and the duration of treatment are quite variable and should be discussed with the orthodontist.


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If the orthodontist recommends phase 1 and 2 treatment

The first phase typically begins around the age of 7 to 9 years, and usually lasts 12 to 18 months. The goals of this early treatment are designed to correct more functional problems and are rarely performed to correct solely esthetic issues alone. The appliances that are typically used are:

  • Partial Braces – Placed on the upper and/or lower permanent teeth (typically 4 braces per jaw)
  • Rapid Palatal Expansion Appliance (also known as an expander) – Fixed appliance used to increase the width of the upper jaw (maxilla)
  • Traditional Headgear – Removable device used to move upper molars backwards and to allow for growth modification of the upper jaw (maxilla)
  • Reverse Pull Headgear – Removable device used when the patient is in anterior crossbite (underbite)

After phase 1 is over the braces and/or appliance will be removed and the patient will be placed in retention.

Retention phase

Defined as the period between the first and the potential second phase of treatment. The patient is typically seen every few months to make sure growth is occurring properly. The patient may have to wear a retention device during this phase.

Phase 2 (optional)

Some patients may not need a second phase (phase 2) of treatment. However, since phase one is usually done quite early to intervene and correct major functional issues, the majority of the patient’s permanent teeth have not erupted yet and thus their final positions cannot be altered. Once the eruption of all the remaining permanent teeth has occurred (typically around 11-13) a re-evaluation of the case will take place at no additional charge. At this point a second phase of treatment may be necessary to correct any remaining malocclusions or abnormalities.

Comprehensive treatment

In many cases, treatment is only initiated when all permanent teeth have completed their eruption typically around age 11-13. Comprehensive, single-phase treatment, usually takes 24 to 36 months and depends on several factors, including:

  • The severity of the malocclusion
  • Patient cooperation
  • Missed appointments

The orthodontist will explain the treatment options and will advise you of the advantages and disadvantages of performing a two-phase treatment or a single-stage comprehensive treatment.

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