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Healthy Smiles for Life: The Importance of Phase I Orthodontics

Every parent wants what’s best for their children. As many of us have lived through braces, cavities and even root canals, we all want their smiles to be healthy.

February marks National Children’s Dental Health Month, and Baptiste Orthodontics wants to explore the importance of orthodontics and the role it plays in children’s dental health. According to the American Association of Orthodontists (AAO), children should have their first orthodontic check-up by age 7.

Typically, by ages 5 and 6, orthodontists can spot problems in X-rays and newly-emerged permanent teeth that can turn into larger problems down the road. This is referred to as Phase I treatment.

Phase I orthodontic treatment isn’t purely cosmetic, as many have been led to believe. Early orthodontic treatment is designed to specifically treat problems such as crossbites, protruding and crowding in the teeth. Improper teeth alignment treatments are costly problems to fix and are sometimes irreversible, potentially leading to greater health concerns down the road.

Misaligned teeth can lead to bite problems and issues in jaw structure, causing intense pain or chronic grinding of the teeth. These issues can result in direct head and neck pain, overcompensation in the jaw and permanent problems in the alignment of their adult teeth.

Phase I treatment is an opportunity for orthodontists to establish a baseline in children’s dental hygiene and provide tips for healthy habits to better your child’s health. Correct alignment and Phase I treatment is drastically more effective when coupled with proper dental hygiene.

Poor dental hygiene has been linked to a higher risk of cardiovascular disease, pneumonia, diabetes, arthritis, certain cancers and even Alzheimer’s disease as people age.

Phase I treatment can also benefit children’s psychological health throughout their early years. A 2020 survey of over 1,000 adults by Propeller Research found that 46% of those surveyed didn’t feel confident about the appearance of their teeth. A well-maintained smile and committing to an orthodontic schedule can set your child up with confidence for life.

We’re not just saying “cheese” for yearbook pictures and family pictures these days; the average U.S. citizen takes upwards of 20 pictures per day. When you factor in the ways photos of your children are being shared (i.e. social media, stories, text message threads), it’s possible that your child’s smile will be seen by hundreds of people on any given day.

Sure, your child may not have a phone or tablet to take selfies on, but technology today is more accessible for children than ever before and, as parents, we love sharing the strength and accomplishments of our kids.

As we think more and more about our digital footprint, it’s also important to think about their real-life connections in the lives of children. If your child doesn’t like to smile for pictures, think about what that may mean for their day-to-day school life.

Perhaps they’re embarrassed by a misaligned tooth or the appearance of their teeth. Maybe they’re experiencing discomfort, but don’t know how or why their mouth may be hurting. Could it be affecting the way they interact with friends and peers? Their teachers?

During such an important developmental stage of their lives, health should be the main priority for your child. Given dental health’s impact on psychological and overall well-being, starting your child on Phase I treatment will make a huge improvement in their life.

And it all starts with seeking Phase I treatment from a trusted orthodontist.

Join millions of parents across America scheduling Phase I orthodontic appointments for their children and take the steps necessary to protect your child’s dental, mental and overall well-being. After all, watching them smile is one of life’s greatest joys.

Get to know Dr. Andre Baptiste

Baptiste Orthodontics Dr. Andre Baptiste provides orthodontic treatment at Baptiste Orthodontics in Orlando and Apopka, Florida. Dr. Baptiste completed his residency in general dentistry and also received a certificate in orthodontics at Howard University in Washington, D.C. Dr. Baptiste has published research in the Journal of Oral Oncology.

Dr. Baptiste is an active board member of the Dr. Phillips High YMCA, a Partner in Education with more than 20 Orange County Public schools. Baptiste Orthodontics has been awarded Outstanding Partner in Education four times and has been honored with the Outstanding Partner District-wide. For more information or to schedule a consultation, visit

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