According to the American Association of Orthodontists, all children should be seen by the age of 7 to receive an orthodontic screening. We support this recommendation in recognition of the fact that it is often best to treat some orthodontic problems in two phases. In our experience, the best results can often be achieved with the provision of a two-phase treatment approach.
Phase I treatment, also known as early interceptive treatment, takes place prior to the eruption of all permanent teeth. This form of treatment may include the use of growth appliances, expanders, or even partial or limited braces. Phase I treatment typically occurs between the ages of 7 and 11. Depending on your child’s situation, this treatment may last between 10 and 14 months. The most common reason for this form of treatment is to create more space for teeth as they develop when early signs of serious crowding becomes noticeable. In some instances, early interceptive treatment may be used to correct crossbites, premature loss of baby teeth, severe overbites and underbites, harmful oral habits, or tooth eruption abnormalities.
Any issues in which the jaws need to be widened, dental arches still need to be developed, or it is necessary to modify or stimulate jaw growth would begin prior to the eruption of all permanent teeth. With the use of Phase I Treatment, we are able to establish a solid foundation for the eruption of permanent teeth while correcting jaw and growth problems that might otherwise necessitate permanent tooth extractions, jaw surgery at a later time, or extensive/complex orthodontic treatment. At the conclusion of the first phase of treatment, permanent teeth are not yet in their final positions. This will be determined through the use of Phase II Treatment.
Following Phase I Treatment is a resting period in which the remaining permanent teeth are given time to erupt. During this time, we may recommend the use of retainers. If the retainers begin interfering with the eruption of the patient’s permanent teeth, retainers may be discontinued.
Phase II Treatment occurs when all of the permanent teeth have almost erupted, sometimes including the 12-year old molars. This typically takes place between the ages of 11 and 13 and involves full braces. During this phase of treatment, we will move the permanent teeth into their ideal place to create optimal function and aesthetics. The result is a beautiful, straight smile and healthy bite.
After the second phase of treatment, retainers may be worn for a period of time to ensure teeth are kept in their proper positions.
Parents often have questions about whether traditional metal braces or clear aligners are the right choice for their children. Although Invisalign aligners are popular among adults, it is now becoming just as popular with teenagers. During your consultation, we will discuss all available options and determine which option may be the best choice for your child’s specific needs.
In some instances, one phase treatment may be preferred over two-phase treatment. In one-phase treatment, full braces are applied once all of the permanent teeth have erupted. In most cases, this takes place between the ages of 11 and 13.
Two-phase treatment is not appropriate for all patients. We will conduct a comprehensive evaluation of your child’s mouth and make a determination based on a study of his or her diagnostic record and the exam. Serious misalignment issues can typically be observed by around age six. Such issues might include an upper or lower jaw that is not growing enough or is growing too much. The goal of two-phase treatment is to establish a proper relationship between the jaws and teeth along with correct alignment to ensure a good functional bite.
Two conditions that commonly require early intervention are protruding front teeth and crossbites. A crossbite may result in the jaws growing unevenly. Protruding front teeth could be injured or fractured in an accident.
It should be noted that patients who have undergone two-phase treatment tend to be more likely to experience lasting results. Our goal is to provide properly aligned teeth that result in a great smile and ideal jaw function.
Without two-phase treatment, there may be a risk that more invasive treatment will be required later. Early treatment is often the best approach to ensure lasting, effective results. An early orthodontic treatment approach often makes it possible to save your child from needing to have permanent teeth removed later or the need for surgery to realign the jaws.
Due to the fact that your child’s teeth grow rapidly, he or she can benefit enormously from early interceptive treatment using appliances that are designed to direct the growth between the upper and lower jaws. This makes it possible to establish a good foundation, allow adequate space for all permanent teeth to erupt and prevent serious problems in the future. Leaving serious conditions untreated until the eruption of all permanent teeth could result in a discrepancy in the jaws that is too severe for even braces to correct.
When treatment is begun early, we can help to guide both the growth of the jaw as well as incoming permanent teeth. Early interceptive treatment can help: