Dr. Ste. Marie believes that every child should be evaluated at the age of seven. This has been the guideline of the American Association of orthodontics for many years. By this age, most children have a mix of baby teeth and adult teeth, making it easier for Dr. Ste. Marie to diagnose and correct tooth and jaw problems sooner and without surgery. At Ste. Marie orthodontics, we believe that some orthodontic problems are best treated when patients are children. Orthodontic care in children can have a lasting effect on the underlying skeletal structures. Dr. Ste. Marie can mold and shape the face of a growing child by applying gentle forces to the teeth. Does your child need orthodontic treatment? While only an orthodontist like Dr. Ste. Marie can determine if your child needs orthodontic treatment, there are several few things to look for that may mean treatment is necessary: • Early or late loss of baby teeth • A hard time chewing or biting food • Mouth breathing • Finger or thumb sucking • Crowded, misplaced, or blocked teeth • Jaws that pop or make sounds when opening and closing • Teeth that come together abnormally, or do not come together at all • Jaws and teeth that are not proportionate to the rest of the face • Crowded front teeth around age seven or eight Phases of Treatment Phase One and Phase Two treatment are usually recommended for different reasons. Phase One treatment is begun in children before all the permanent teeth have erupted. It is aimed at using intraoral appliances to address underlying skeletal malformations. However, Dr. Ste. Marie may also recommend Phase One treatment to improve a child's self-¬¬esteem. This is important if children feel that their teeth are causing negative social impact. Phase Two treatment is usually initiated in early teen years or after permanent tooth eruption is complete. Dr. Ste. Marie understands that when patients have balanced skeletal features, they will have better overall orthodontic results. Phase Two treatment success is a direct result of Phase One success. At Ste. Marie Orthodontics, we strive to communicate the orthodontic problems to patient and the parent in easy to understand terms. We partner with our patients to achieve the best results. Patients are encouraged to take ownership of their treatment for the best results. If you think your child could benefit from orthodontic treatment, please contact our Lafayette or Opelousas, LA orthodontic office and schedule a consultation with Dr. Ste. Marie. Early treatment now will give your child a healthy, beautiful smile for the future.