Phase 1 orthodontics typically occurs between 6 and 9 years of age, during the mixed dentition phase, when patients begin to lose their baby teeth. The American Association of Orthodontists recommends that all children get a checkup with an orthodontist no later than 7 years old. This is the best time to detect whether there are disturbances in jaw growth or tooth development that are more easily addressed at this age.
Patients with craniofacial differences, including cleft lip and palate, commonly have misaligned teeth or disruptions in tooth and/or jaw development that are best addressed at this time.
A short phase of orthodontics can be utilized at this time to favorably enhance the growth of your child’s jaw. We may also use orthodontic treatment to create space to guide the development and eruption of the permanent teeth into proper alignment. This phase of treatment typically lasts from 6 to 12 months, and although treatment is individualized for each patient, common orthodontic therapies used at this time include:
- Functional appliances
- Limited phase of braces (selected teeth)
- Specialized retainers
- Expansion appliances
- Space maintainers
Updated January 2014