Orthodontic treatment is most common between the ages of 11 and 14 for important physiological, as well as psychological reasons. First, most to all of the permanent teeth have usually erupted, permitting a thorough diagnosis and comprehensive therapy. Issues such as teeth rotations, crowding, and spacing will likely not self-correct and can worsen into adulthood. Second, during this stage of development, the facial bones and jaws are not yet fully-formed and can respond favorably to orthopedic intervention when indicated.
This is often an ideal time for younger children and early teenagers to undergo orthodontic treatment because of reduced social considerations. Seeing their classmates and teammates also wearing braces can reduce their anxieties, and can often reinforce certain prescribed treatments, such as wearing rubber bands.
Finally, increased metabolisms can lessen recovery time to periodic adjustments, reducing dental soreness as well as overall treatment time.
Two Phase Orthodontic Treatment
Some orthodontic conditions require early treatment to avoid potentially-serious complications later. Harmful habits should be addressed early, to improve function and speech. Correcting issues such as crossbites, open bites, severe crowding, teeth erupting in unfavorable directions, and extra/missing teeth should be performed early (while some primary or “baby” teeth are still present). Well-timed, successful early intervention will often reduce overall treatment time for a second phase of therapy if indicated. In some instances, Phase I treatment can reduce likelihood of more serious considerations, such as extraction of permanent teeth or jaw surgery.
Upon completion of Phase I, an Observation Period with no active treatment is preferred, so the orthodontist can monitor remaining permanent tooth eruption and jaw development. During brief, periodic examinations every three to six months, Dr. Daniels will review with the patient and family dental and orthopedic developments. He will advise if a second stage is medically necessary and when treatment should begin.