While many patients don’t begin orthodontic treatment until all of their adult teeth erupt, our Experts in the Art of Orthodontics sometimes recommend that children begin a “first phase” while they still have baby teeth. Phase one is problem-focused and may revolve around one or two issues that need to be addressed early to prevent bigger problems later on. The ideal time for an evaluation is around age seven when children are young, their bones and tissues are growing, and permanent teeth are starting to maneuver into position. Phase two happens after all adult teeth are in.
When is two-phase treatment necessary?
We may recommend two-phase orthodontic treatment when:
- There is extreme crowding that will not allow space for permanent teeth to erupt.
- There is a sizeable underbite, overbite or crossbite. Fixing bite problems at a young age can help avoid the need for surgery later in life.
- There are permanent teeth likely to be impacted without early intervention.
- A child has a sucking or tongue thrusting habit.
- Protruding front teeth are posing a risk of being broken or knocked out.
- An esthetic issue becomes a social concern for the child.
What happens during Phase One?
Every case is different, so there are several procedures we may use during early treatment. In some patients with narrow palates, we use palatal expanders to increase the perimeter of the arch, creating more space for teeth to come in. Occasionally, we will recommend the removal of baby teeth that are obstructing the proper eruption of permanent teeth. We often place braces on the permanent teeth, and we may include a few of the baby teeth in the system to add support to the wire.
What happens during Phase Two?
After a resting period during which all permanent teeth erupt, we use braces or aligners to guide the teeth into alignment. While phase one is more problem-focused, the goal of phase two is comprehensive; it is to make sure teeth are in their proper places for good function, a healthy bite and a beautiful smile.
Have Questions About the Best Age for Orthodontic Treatment? Just Ask Our Experts!
If you’ve been wondering when your child should start wearing braces or aligners, call our office for a complimentary evaluation. Our Experts in the Art of Orthodontics love to see children around the age of seven to determine what their particular needs are. We look forward to getting to know you and your child soon!
If you or your child needs orthodontic treatment, work with the experts at Bankhead Orthodontic Specialists. Serving the St. Louis, MO, Metro area as well as southeastern Illinois via six convenient locations, these trained specialists offer traditional, lingual and clear braces as well as Invisalign® to provide patients with highly customized solutions. Call (636) 978-8848 today to schedule a consultation, and visit the website for more information.