San Diego, CA – You’ve probably heard that your children should see an orthodontist by the age of 7. This guideline by the American Association of Orthodontists ensures that children can be monitored so that their San Diego orthodontist can begin orthodontic treatment at precisely the right time to have the most impact.
“Just because your child has his or her first visit with me at the age of seven, that doesn’t mean we’ll need to begin treatment right then,” says Dr. Santiago Surillo, an orthodontist serving children and adults in San Diego. “Sometimes treatment isn’t indicated, but we like to monitor the growth of the jaw and how the permanent teeth erupt. But for some children, two phase treatment that includes early interceptive treatment ensures their best chance for a properly working smile.”
Two phase orthodontic treatment consists of just that – treatment in two phases. Your orthodontist may recommend this treatment for a variety of reasons, such as needing to make room for permanent teeth to erupt, to relieve overcrowding in a small jaw, or to treat very serious malocclusions.
Early interceptive treatment is ideal because it allows the orthodontist to do the work needed while the child’s jaw is still growing. The bite and growth of the jaw can be guided to allow for later treatment to be as effective as possible.
“Early interceptive treatment usually happens between the ages of seven and ten,” says Dr. Surillo. “Once the jaw has stopped growing, it can make orthodontic treatment more difficult and extensive. By dividing treatment into two phases, we can often make treatment easier and even shorter than it otherwise might be. Our biggest goal during the first phase of treatment is to create the most ideal situation for permanent teeth to erupt – by setting your child up for success today, we can avoid more difficult and costly treatment later.”
If your child is past the age of seven, or if you are concerned about something you think may be an issue, schedule a consultation with your orthodontist today. If early treatment is indicated, your orthodontist will explain what is recommended and why. Some children may benefit from partial braces to guide teeth to better locations to allow permanent teeth to come in. Other children may need a retainer, or other orthodontic appliances that can guide the growth of the jaw or help it move to a better position to accommodate the eruption of the permanent teeth.
“Our goal is always to provide the best treatment at the right time,” says Dr. Surillo. “For many children, early treatment can lessen the work they need later, and for some children, it can prevent the need for it altogether. At your initial consultation, we’ll recommend the most ideal treatment plan to give your child a beautiful and properly functioning bite.”
To schedule a consultation with Dr. Surillo to see if two phase orthodontic treatment may be right for your child, call 619-461-6166.