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When Should Orthodontic Treatment Start?


A child should have his/her teeth checked at about age seven, when the permanent teeth start to grow. Although adolescents (11 to 15 years of age) are most responsive to orthodontics treatment, this early examination will alert the Houston dentists to any potential problems. Orthodontics treatment is also suitable for adults and about 25% of patients today are adults.

In general, treatment with braces in Houston will take approximately one to three years depending on a few factors such as the growth of the patient's face and mouth, co-operation of the patient and the severity of the problems.

For children, the best time to start depends on the type of malocclusion. Sometimes treatment is done in 2 phases in Houston:

Phase 1
If the child's jaws are not aligned right or too small, the Houston orthodontist may start braces treatment while the jaws are growing. This is called growth modification and is usually carried out between ages to 12 and takes about 1 year. Subsequently, the Houston orthodontist will review the child 6-monthly or yearly to monitor the development of the permanent teeth.

Often bite problems may be intercepted during a child's early years from age 4 to 10. Cross-bites, severe crowding and severe protrusions are the most common bite problems that are seen in Early Phase Treatment. The focus of this type of braces treatment is usually limited to a specific area such as correcting the cross-bite or protrusion. Treatment length is usually a year or less followed by a rest phase while the remaining baby teeth are lost and the permanent teeth come in. In the majority of Early Phase Treatment there is a second phase of braces treatment with conventional braces on the upper and lower to complete the balance of the correction on the newly erupted permanent teeth.

Phase 2
If the child's adult or permanent teeth are not properly aligned when they erupt (usually between ages 11 to 13), they will need to be straightened and this is called Phase 2. Most children who have undergone Phase 1 braces treatment also need Phase 2.

Often bite problems may be intercepted during a child's early years from age 4 to 10. Cross-bites, severe crowding and severe protrusions are the most common bite problems that are seen in Early Phase Treatment. The focus of this type of braces treatment is usually limited to a specific area such as correcting the cross-bite or protrusion. Treatment length is usually a year or less followed by a rest phase while the remaining baby teeth are lost and the permanent teeth come in. In the majority of Early Phase Treatment there is a second phase of braces treatment with conventional braces on the upper and lower to complete the balance of the correction on the newly erupted permanent teeth.

 Just as the typical Houston braces treatment length of two years is divided with Early Phase Treatment and Second Phase Treatment, so is the braces treatment fee in Houston. Adding the fees of both phases together, generally does not exceed the fee of comprehensive braces treatment in Houston.


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