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When Should My Child See an Orthodontist?

Orthodontists in Grand Rapids MI

Our Grand Rapids, MI orthodontists understand that you may be cautious about investing in years of orthodontic treatment for your child.

However, starting orthodontic treatment at the right age can help you save money in the long run and ensure your child is able to achieve their best smile.

Continue reading to learn when your child should see an orthodontist.

Does My Child Need an Orthodontist?

The American Academy of Orthodontists recommends you take your child to see an orthodontist no later than age 7. While this may seem too young, our orthodontists will be able to spot small issues with your child’s bite and teeth alignment before they turn into major problems.

Even if your child’s teeth appear to be straight, it’s still a good idea to schedule an appointment with one of our orthodontists in Grand Rapids, MI. Your child’s bite or teeth alignment may change over time, which is why we may recommend your child see us periodically as their jaw grows and permanent teeth erupt.

What is Phase 1 Orthodontic Treatment?

The earliest age we start orthodontic treatment is typically age 7. Since your child’s jaw is still growing at this age, we’re able to correct a lot of issues that would be more difficult to treat later in life. For example, one of our orthodontists may recommend a palate expander to expand your child’s upper arch of teeth. This creates more space in the jaw for permanent teeth to erupt without crowding.

Many parents choose Phase 1 Orthodontic Treatment for their children so they don’t have to spend as much time in braces during middle and high school. Since many children play a contact sport during their teenage years, it’s a good idea to start orthodontic treatment as soon as possible so front teeth don’t protrude and increase their risk of oral injury.

What are the potential advantages of Phase 1 Orthodontic Treatment?

  • Creating room for crowded, erupting teeth
  • Developing healthy, open nasal airways
  • Creating facial symmetry by influencing proper jaw growth
  • Reducing the risk of trauma to protruding front teeth
  • Preserving space for unerupted front teeth
  • Reducing the need for tooth removal
  • Reducing overall treatment time with braces

What is the Orthodontic Resting Period?

Once Phase 1 Orthodontic Treatment is complete, your child will have a one- to two-year break before starting Phase 2. During this time, the rest of your child’s permanent teeth will erupt and the jaw will continue to grow. Since your child went through Phase 1 Orthodontic Treatment, the positions of their permanent teeth will be better than if they hadn’t worn dental braces. For example, expanding the palate would have made room for your child’s adult teeth to erupt without crowding.

What is Phase 2 Orthodontic Treatment?

Phase 2 Orthodontic Treatment starts after your child has all their permanent teeth. Patients who had Phase 1 Orthodontic Treatment tend to spend less time in teeth braces than if they had started later in life. Orthodontic treatment not only straightens teeth, but helps open your child’s nasal airways for better breathing and improved sleep.

Our Grand Rapids, MI orthodontists offer a range of treatments to help your child achieve their best smile. In fact, our office was ranked #1 Orthodontist for Kids from GRKids.com’s 2016, 2017, and 2018 Reader’s Polls! To request a free consultation and learn more about braces for kids, call Armbrecht & Wierenga Orthodontics at (616) 455-4800.