The American Association of Orthodontists recommends that children begin seeing the orthodontist at age 7. In many cases, the Orthodontist may recommend “Phase I” or “Early Treatment” to address problems before all of the primary teeth have been lost. However, even if the patient is not ready for treatment at that time, it is a good age to meet the doctor and staff and create an ongoing relationship with the office.
Early orthodontic treatment is usually begun after the four front upper and lower permanent teeth have erupted, which typically happens between ages 7-9. The image below outlines certain issues that can be alleviated before they get worse:
Phase I treatment usually takes about 12 months. In some cases, patients can roll directly into comprehensive treatment on the top and bottom arches directly following Phase I. Other times, the Orthodontist may place a bonded retainer to keep things in place until comprehensive treatment is recommended.