Your orthodontist may recommend phased orthodontic treatment for your child. Phased orthodontics is the process of treating misaligned, gapped, or crowded teeth in two separate stages of treatment.
Phased treatment typically begins when there are still primary (baby) teeth present, and can correct such issues as overbite, underbite, crossbite, or imbalanced jaw growth that could lead to problems with your child’s secondary (adult) teeth. Having your child’s orthodontist correct these issues when primary teeth are still present allows for your child’s mouth to grow and change while preserving his or her permanent smile.
In Phase I, your child will receive a thorough orthodontic evaluation by a skilled orthodontist. A first visit is recommended prior to the age of seven. The orthodontist will monitor your child’s facial jaw growth and primary tooth loss along with the eruption of any remaining permanent teeth. If your child’s orthodontist recommends phased treatment, the first treatment typically starts when your child is between the ages of six and ten.
Phase I treatment can prevent a jaw or dental developmental problems from worsening and requiring a more invasive corrective procedure when permanent teeth have descended. Some issues can lead to surgery, but early orthodontic treatment during the most appropriate times of growth can remedy these issues so that surgery isn’t required.
Phase II begins once adult teeth have fully erupted. It involves the application of braces or other orthodontic appliances. Phase I focuses on the mouth’s growth and foundation, but Phase II completes the alignment for optimal function and aesthetics. Phase II can also include the use of a retainer to maintain the ideal position of the teeth after the braces are removed.
Talk to your child’s orthodontist today to learn if your child is able to benefit from phased orthodontic treatment. Don’t wait until small problems become larger ones later.