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3201 E Olive Rd., Pensacola, FL 32514

101 4th Ave E, Suite B, Crestview, FL 32539

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Early Orthodontics

Orthodontic treatment is widely known for improving the aesthetic appearance of the teeth and smile. However, it is used for much more than that!

Orthodontic treatment is recommended to prevent and correct bite irregularities. What causes these irregularities? It could be genetic factors, early loss of baby teeth, and harmful oral habits such as thumb sucking or developmental issues.

The American Association for Orthodontics recommends that every child have their first orthodontic evaluation by age 7. Once your child turns 7, our pediatric dentists will want to give them a thorough cleaning at their next dental visit to prepare them for an orthodontic evaluation.

Why Should My Child See An Orthodontist by the Age of 7?

At age 7, your child is losing their baby teeth and developing permanent teeth. At this stage, it is easier for an orthodontist to correct any jaw growth problems. While this does not mean that all 7-year-olds need braces, it does mean that an orthodontist will have a pretty good understanding of your child’s evaluation results to determine when the best time is to start orthodontic treatment.

Some children display early signs of a need for orthodontic treatment. While your pediatric dentist might choose to monitor the situation without intervening, often times for children who display severe irregularities, early orthodontic treatment can provide many benefits, such as:

  • Encouraging proper jaw growth
  • Encouraging properly aligned and spaced permanent teeth
  • Reducing the risk of teeth grinding
  • Reducing the risk of speech problems
  • Preventing extended orthodontic treatments in later years
  • Enhanced self-confidence and aesthetic appearance

Wild Smiles has made early orthodontic treatment easier than ever with our next-door neighbor, Smart Smiles Orthodontics! Even better, Dr. Witcher can see your child for a same-day orthodontic evaluation at your child’s next dental appointment.

What is Phase I Treatment?

Phase I orthodontic treatment is used when a patient still has some of their baby teeth and before all of their adult teeth have erupted. This treatment plan will consist of braces or another orthodontic appliance like clear aligners.

The goal during Phase I treatment is to intervene before issues with baby teeth lead to problems with eating, speaking, or breathing. If there is no early intervention, your child will typically need more complex and extended treatment to correct the issues.

How Should My Child Prepare for Phase I Treatment?

Starting braces or any type of orthodontic treatment can be a wild time for your child. They might not understand the process or the end goal of orthodontic treatment. Before taking your child to their first orthodontist appointment, we recommend the following:

  • Make sure they’ve had a recent dental cleaning at Wild Smiles
  • Talk to your child about what braces are and what they do
  • Explain the changes they will have to make in their oral health and eating routine
  • Emphasize the positive side of orthodontic treatment

If you don’t know how to approach this topic with your child, we are here to help! Our doctors at Wild Smiles, in partnership with Dr. Witcher, can educate your child on everything they need to know about Phase I treatment.

Types of Braces

Forget everything you know about the wild braces from back in the day! At Smart Smiles, Dr. Witcher uses nothing but the latest and greatest for your little one’s smile. Depending on what your child’s treatment plan will look like, Dr. Witcher will recommend one of the following:

  • Metal Braces
  • Clear Braces
  • Invisalign Clear Aligners

To know which type will be the best fit for your kiddo’s smile journey, book a free consultation with Dr. Witcher!

Life with Braces

So your child has braces…what now? Great question! This is a significant time in your child’s life that will take a lot of adjusting (no pun intended!).

Oral Hygiene Routine with Braces

While wearing braces, your child will need to brush their teeth at least three times a day to keep their gums, teeth, and mouth healthy and clean. Brushing regularly will remove any food that may get caught between the braces. We advise that patients should floss daily to get those hard-to-reach spots where their toothbrush cannot go.


Unlike Invisalign clear aligners, braces are not removable before treatment is complete. This means that your kiddo will have to be careful with what they eat while wearing braces. They should:

  • Avoid sticky and chewy foods
  • Avoid hard foods
  • Avoid any foods that can become stuck in the braces
  • Try to avoid foods with lots of sugar

The success of their treatment is dependent on how they take care of their braces. If their appliances become damaged or are consistently broken, it could prolong the treatment phase.

What To Do For Braces Emergencies

Broken bracket? Poking wire? In the event of a braces emergency, make sure that you call our office or Smart Smiles Orthodontics as soon as possible so we can schedule your appointment. We want you to get in, get treated, and get back to your routine!