EARLY PHASE ONE TREATMENT
What Is Early Orthodontic Treatment?
Not every child will have to have early orthodontic treatment, also known as Phase One. However, there are times when it is necessary to go ahead with early orthodontic treatment to help ensure your child’s permanent teeth erupt properly.
How Will Early Orthodontic Treatments Benefit My Child?
Early orthodontic treatments are used to reduce any risks of experiencing issues like crowded teeth, gaps between the teeth, crooked teeth, jaw growth problems, protruding teeth, and bad bites. The purpose of early orthodontic treatment is to correct the growth of the jaw and any bite problems your child might have. Early treatment makes room for your child’s permanent teeth to erupt properly, which will lessen the chance of needing future extractions.
How Soon Can I Start My Child on Early Orthodontic Treatments?
Always check with your orthodontist to see what they recommend, as each child is different. However, The American Association of Orthodontists recommends that children see an orthodontist as early as age seven with phase two beginning around age 11 and up.
How Can I Tell If My Child Needs Early Orthodontic Treatment?
Here are the signs that your child might need early orthodontic treatment.
- Early or late loss of your child’s baby teeth (most children start losing their teeth around age five and have all their permanent teeth by age 13)
- A hard time chewing and/or biting
- Breathing through the mouth
- Thumb sucking after age five
- Speech impediments
- Protruding teeth (if both the top and bottom of your child’s teeth extend away from each other)
- Teeth that don’t align evenly or at all
- Jawbone shifting when your child opens or closes their mouth (crossbites)
- Crowded front teeth after reaching the age of seven or eight
Common Orthodontic Therapies Used in Phase One Orthodontics
- Functional appliances
- Braces for selected teeth
- Specialized retainers
- Expansion appliances
- Space maintainers
Are Phase Two Braces Necessary?
Not all children will require two phases of braces. It will all depend on what’s wrong with your child’s teeth or bite. Your orthodontist might recommend phase two orthodontic treatment to address your child’s teeth or bite to help prevent needing more invasive treatments in the future. It’s all dependent on your child’s particular needs.