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It is recommended that all children visit an orthodontist around the age of seven. Years ago, parents waited until the child was a little older when adult teeth had erupted and problems were becoming readily evident. This way of orthodontics is changing due to earlier treatment known as Phase One or interceptive orthodontics.

With earlier orthodontic intervention, the child’s jaw is altered rather than having to shift teeth to accommodate available jaw space for an older child or teen. One of the advantages to this method is the elimination of teeth extraction needed so braces can be placed.

While the child is still in the growing stage, the jaw or palate can be expanded to meet the child’s need for adult teeth to erupt. The size or shape of the jaw is much easier to manipulate during the growth period.

The advantage of changing the jaw is to allow permanent teeth to emerge without overcrowding. If baby teeth appear normal, the parent might wonder why permanent adult teeth will not do the same. The reason is that there are only 20 primary teeth, but up to 32 permanent adult teeth. Those permanent teeth are forming in gums beneath baby teeth so you can see the importance of allowing enough space for permanent teeth to come in properly.

In Phase One orthodontic treatment, the child is fitted with an oral appliance designed to reshape the jaw and palate; but can also work on the teeth as well. Some of these oral devices are removable and work like retainers; there are also fixed devices. Your child’s oral condition usually dictates what plan will work best.

Phase One orthodontics is to be considered a preventive measure; that does not necessarily mean your child will not require additional orthodontic treatment down the road. What Phase One treatment can mean for your child is an abbreviated Phase Two once all baby teeth are gone and permanent teeth are in place.

In Phase One the orthodontist might fit your child with a retainer to help maintain corrections made as permanent teeth begin to emerge.

Straight, evenly spaced teeth will mean healthier teeth and gums coupled with a great smile for your child to enjoy for life. To learn more or to schedule a consultation, contact San Antonio Orthodontics at 210-970-7638 today.