Benefits of Phase 1 Treatment
In orthodontics, Phase 1 Treatment usually takes place while a child still has some baby teeth but adult teeth are beginning to appear. One of the major benefits of Phase 1 Treatment is that it avoids potential orthodontic issues from becoming a serious problem in the future.
It’s a mistake to regard misaligned baby teeth as harmless. Although all primary teeth will eventually fall out, they play a crucial role in paving the way for your child’s adult teeth, as well as enabling them to breathe, eat and speak properly.
If early orthodontic problems are not addressed with Phase 1 Treatment, your youngster is likely to need more complex and extended treatments as they get older. Phase 1 Treatment1 – part of interceptive orthodontics – typically consists of partial braces or a simpler oral appliance.
Does My Child Need Phase 1 Treatment?
Your child’s smile is precious, and one of the benefits of Phase 1 Treatment is that it helps to ensure their beaming grin remains strong and healthy as they progress into their teen years and beyond.
Phase 1 Treatment is the first step toward making sure your youngster’s jaw and dental growth are guided in the right direction. The transition between primary teeth and adult teeth provides your child’s orthodontist with an ideal opportunity to make any necessary adjustments while their jaw is still growing and their teeth developing.
Signs that your youngster might benefit from Phase 1 Treatment include:
- Loss of baby teeth before the age of five.
- Emerging permanent teeth obstructed by baby teeth.
- Gapped, crowded, crooked or protruding teeth.
- Their teeth don’t come together properly.
- Problems breathing comfortably or talking.
- Habits like thumb-sucking, which could impair their dental development.
- Jaw out of proportion with the rest of the face.
Even if your youngster doesn’t currently show any of these symptoms, they may still benefit from Phase 1 Treatment. Your child is constantly growing and changing. By the time your youngster is seven, enough adult teeth should be appearing for an orthodontist to evaluate the relationships developing between their teeth, bite function and jaw.
Treatment for problems such as crooked teeth or a bite malfunction can usually wait for a couple of years when the position of adult teeth can be adjusted. In other cases, you get the peace of mind that your child’s oral development is on track.
Problems That Phase 1 Orthodontic Treatment Can Avoid
In the absence of Phase 1 Treatment, problems with primary teeth can lead to multiple issues as your child gets older, requiring more complex and lengthy treatments.
Ensuring their dental progression is on course will sometimes mean braces later on. By determining the proper timing of your youngster’s future treatment, their orthodontist can achieve the best results.
Phase 1 Orthodontic Treatment can prevent current or potential dental or jaw problems from becoming serious as your child continues to grow. It helps to ensure correct development of the jaw so there’s enough room for permanent teeth to emerge.
Benefits of Phase I Treatment for kids include:
- Helping to rectify poor oral habits.
- Improving appearance and self-esteem.
- Improving jaw development.
- Avoiding the need to take out permanent teeth.
Phase 1 Treatment can also reduce the risk of impacted adult teeth – when teeth become stuck beneath the gum line or only partially break through.
Orthodontic treatment is far simpler and faster when your child is young and the facial and jawbones are still developing. Phase 1 Treatment can prevent future problems before they even start, and help your child keep that precious smile you’re so proud of.
Crucial Role of Phase 1 Treatment
Orthodontic Phase 1 Treatment can play a critical role in your youngster’s health and appearance. Their teeth may appear to be straight but you may not notice underlying issues such as a skewed bite or whether their adult teeth are erupting through the gums properly.
An orthodontic evaluation at an early age can diagnose problems like these and enable treatment to be planned to rectify them to avoid potential future issues with the permanent teeth.
With the help of X-rays or digital imaging, an orthodontist can see if your child is missing any adult teeth that should be developing and spot any abnormalities in emerging teeth.
Common issues needing early orthodontic treatment include:
Protruding front teeth. Fifteen percent of youngsters in the U.S. aged 12 to 15 have protruding teeth.
Crowding. Overcrowded teeth can result in teeth that are markedly crooked.
Bite disorders. These include a deep overbite – when the upper front teeth overlap the lower front teeth – which can lead to serious jaw and dental problems.
After Phase 1 Treatment
After Phase 1 Treatment, your child will get a resting period of about a year to allow their mouth to develop naturally. The orthodontist can then determine which treatments they may need during Phase 2 Treatment.
While Phase 1 Treatment addresses existing or developing oral problems before all your child’s permanent teeth have emerged, Phase 2 Treatment concentrates on final alignment of their adult teeth, with appliances such as full braces. This therapy will be easier thanks to Phase 1 Treatment. In some cases, Phase 2 Treatment may not even be necessary.
Choosing an Orthodontist for Your Child
The American Association of Orthodontics2 (AAO) recommends that parents take kids for their first orthodontic check-up by the time they’re seven. This advice is based on the fact that around this age, the first set of adult molars and some of the permanent front teeth should have emerged.
An orthodontic exam – and subsequent appointments – at a young age can be an unnerving prospect for kids. You can help to ensure your child’s dental appointments run as smoothly as possible by finding an orthodontic practice experienced in dealing with young patients.
While a purely adult-oriented dental office may make your child apprehensive, orthodontists who treat a lot of children will try to make sure your youngster comes to regard dental visits as a fun time as they reap all the benefits of Phase 1 Treatment.