Early Treatment

Timing is everything – especially when it comes to your child’s orthodontic treatment. “Early” treatment, also called “interceptive” treatment, means treatment that is performed while some baby teeth are still present.

The American Association of Orthodontists (AAO) recommends that your child’s first check-up with an orthodontist be performed when an orthodontic problem is first recognized, but no later than age 7. By then, your child has enough permanent teeth for an orthodontist to evaluate the developing teeth and the jaws, which in turn can provide a wealth of information.

Phase 1 Orthodontic Treatment

Phase 1 Treatment

Phase I or Early Interceptive Treatment usually starts while the child has most of their baby teeth with few of their permanent teeth. The goal of Phase I treatment is to intercept moderate or severe orthodontic problems early in order to reduce or eliminate them. These problems include jaw bone problems, cross bites and crowding. Generally we use expanders, removable appliances, Herbst appliances (instead of headgear) and retainers during this phase.

This treatment approach takes advantage of active growth to change the jaw bone structure, either to make extra room or to address jaw bone discrepancies. This helps reduce the need for extractions or jaw surgery and delivers better long term results.

Phase 2 Treatment

Most Phase I patients require Phase II treatment at a later date in order to achieve the best smile.

Phase II treatment involves use of full braces to with a goal to finish the occlusion or bite ideally. It usually occurs when all permanent teeth are present. Many times there is gap of time between Phase I and start of Phase II treatment. This phase most commonly occurs around the age of 12 or 13 years.

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