Traditional braces are typically placed on a child's teeth by the age of 14. This occurs because children typically have most of their permanent teeth by this age, and braces are more effective when placed on permanent teeth. There are times, though, when children begin receiving orthodontic treatment when they still have most of their primary teeth. If your child has not yet developed his or her permanent teeth but needs orthodontic work, here are a few things you should know.

Orthodontics Is Often Completed In Two Phases

Orthodontics is a branch of dentistry that focuses on straightening teeth and correcting jaw and bite issues. It is often completed in two phases; however, there are many times when the first phase is not necessary. If your child only needs the second phase of orthodontics, the treatment will be completed once the child has most of his or her permanent teeth, and it will involve the use of braces. If your child has mostly primary teeth and needs orthodontics, he or she will need to go through phase one.

Phase one in orthodontics is only used when a child has major issues with his or her bite or jaw, and this treatment will usually begin around the age of six or seven. This first phase is primarily designed to help the adult teeth come in more properly and accurately than they appear like they will.

How This Helps

The main way the first phase of orthodontics helps a child is by guiding the way the jawbone grows from this point forward. When a child still has his or her baby teeth, the child's jawbone has not fully formed. If your child has a severe problem with his or her jaw and you wait to correct it with braces, it might be extremely hard for the orthodontist to fix it properly. On the other hand, if the orthodontist begins making corrections to the jawbone when it is still moldable and forming, he or she will have a much easier time making all the necessary changes to help the child's teeth, bite, and jaw develop properly.

This is primarily because the jawbone is moldable and movable when a child still has baby teeth. By the time the baby teeth fall out and the permanent teeth develop, it is so much harder to move the jawbone to where it needs to be.

Methods Used In The First Phase

If your child needs phase one of orthodontic treatment, the orthodontist may use a device called a palatal expander. This device is similar to a normal retainer you would see after a child gets braces removed, and it is designed to help increase the size of the child's upper arch.

Another option is called a lower arch expander, and this is commonly used when there is overcrowding of the teeth. Overcrowding commonly occurs when a child's jaw is too small. There is also a chance the orthodontist will recommend braces for a young child. Braces can also help correct bite and jaw issues.

No matter what options are used to correct your child's oral problems, he or she will most likely need to have braces at a later point in time. This will not occur until the child's baby teeth are gone and the permanent teeth are in place.

Using a two-step approach in orthodontics offers a better way to fix major deformities and issues with the jaw. If you want your child to have great-looking teeth and a good bite, you should contact an orthodontist like Cobbe Dental & Orthodontics to find out if your child is ready to begin treatment.