Phase 1 – Braces and Orthodontics for Young Children

Content reviewed by Dr. Wint W. Tun, DDS, MS – Board-Certified Orthodontist

young child smiling with metal braces

Why Phase I?

Most children do not need braces until they have lost all of their baby teeth, which usually happens around age 12 or 13. However, you may notice some of your child’s friends starting braces around age 7. Why? That is because some orthodontic problems are easier to correct if detected at an early age before jaw growth has slowed.

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The American Association of Orthodontists (AAO) recommends that every child be seen for an orthodontic evaluation by the age of 7.

illustration of mouth with orthodontics expander

Expander Key

A key is inserted into the screw hole of a palatal expander and as it is turned, tension is created simulating bone growth. Following expansion, an ideal arch form of jaw is established creating enough space for adult teeth.


  • Prevents some orthodontic problems from becoming severe 

  • Makes treatment at a later age shorter and less complicated

  • Corrects harmful oral habits such as thumb sucking

  • Creates enough room for all permanent teeth to come in

  • Eliminates childhood bullying related to appearance 

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