The Canadian Association of Orthodontists recommends an orthodontic evaluation as early as age 6 or 7. The first permanent molars erupt at this age, allowing for an assessment of the relationship between the upper and lower teeth. A variety of dental problems can also be detected.
The orthodontic examination can also detect skeletal problems as well as some functional problems of the jaw.
The x-rays taken during the orthodontic examination are very revealing of the future position of the teeth. For some children, it will be necessary to intervene as early as 7 years of age, while for others, the intervention will be done at the most opportune time according to their growth pattern.
Orthodontic treatments may involve two phases:
Phase 1 often consists of wearing a palatal expander, retainer, orthodontic separator, removable or fixed appliance. These appliances allow for additional jaw growth and create space for the permanent teeth. For some children, only phase 1 is necessary.
In other cases, a second phase is necessary: fixed orthodontics. This is commonly called “braces”. This phase, the duration of which is determined according to the complexity of the treatment, can take two forms: traditional brackets made of metal or ceramic, and evolving transparent shells. Phase 1 is optional. In fact, it is possible to use only phase 2.