Braces are practically a rite of passage for children, but getting straight teeth not only gives them a great smile for yearbooks, it also enhances their oral health and boosts their self-confidence. Dr. Bui and her team will give your child a smile that never goes out of style. Dr. Chi H. Bui is a board certified orthodontist who treats children as young as 5 years old. Her practice, The OrthoBee Orthodontics in Fountain Valley serves residents all over Orange County.
Orthodontic treatment for younger children is known as Phase I or early interceptive treatment and occurs before all the permanent teeth have erupted, around age 6-10. Phase II is comprehensive treatment, usually treated with a full set of braces, and starts during the tween and teen years.
It may surprise you that American Association of Orthodontists recommends that children have an orthodontic consultation by the age of 7. While your child may not need braces or any orthodontic treatment at this time, your orthodontist can alert you to any potential problems as well as determine the optimal time for your child’s treatment. The goal of early treatment is to make room for permanent teeth to come in, which can decrease the chance of extractions, and to correct the growth of the jaw if there is a skeletal imbalance.
Sometimes there are dental and skeletal problems that need to be addressed before all the permanent teeth come in. For instance, some teeth may be impacted, and will not come in without orthodontic intervention. In cases of skeletal discrepancies, early treatment can make a difference between having jaw surgery later on. Some indications for early treatment include:
- Severe crowding
- Severely protruding teeth
- Narrow upper jaw (crossbite)
- Teeth not touching (open bite)
- Upper teeth behind lower teeth (underbite)
- Early or late loss of baby teeth
- Speech problems
When it comes to getting orthodontic care for your child, it can be confusing to know what the best treatment is. Dr. Bui understands that there are many questions on when and how to best treat your child and she addresses those concerns during the initial visit.
Whether Phase I treatment is needed, Dr. Bui will monitor the development of your child’s face, teeth, and jaws and inform you of the best time for Phase II, if needed. She will also work with you and your child to correct potentially harmful habits, like thumb sucking and tongue thrusting.
Some of the treatments for Phase I can include partial braces or appliances. Appliances commonly used in Phase I include the following: expander, space maintainer, headgear, Herbst appliance, and facemask.
While some teens embrace the idea of having colorful braces, others want to have straight teeth with as little visible to them as possible. That is why we offer traditional metal braces as well as more cosmetic options popular with adult patients, like Invisalign, clear and lingual braces for our adolescent patients. Another thing that teens and adults have in common is that they are eager to get their treatment completed as quickly as possible to enjoy their new smile. Dr. Bui offers the latest treatments for accelerated orthodontics so you can enjoy your smile sooner.
Image courtesy of AAO