The goal of phase 1 treatment is to support the jaw to develop with a healthy alignment and prepare the mouth to accommodate all of the permanent teeth.
Children may begin to exhibit early signs of jaw problems as they grow and their jaw bones develop. An upper or lower jaw that is growing too much or not enough, or is too narrow, wide or asymmetrical is apparent to our trained orthodontists at an early age. If children over the age of six are found to have any of these jaw discrepancies, they may be candidates for early orthodontic treatment!
Children grow rapidly, which makes the interceptive phase of orthodontic treatment incredibly beneficial. With orthodontic appliances, we can direct the growth toward the proper relationship between the upper and lower jaws. We can also create adequate room for all of the permanent teeth to erupt into a more natural position. If a young patient doesn’t undergo a necessary preventive phase of treatment and all of their permanent teeth erupt, they may require adult tooth extraction or jaw surgery to correct progressed conditions.
In this phase, the remaining permanent teeth are erupting. Some tooth guidance can be achieved in this resting period by adjusting retainers. It’s best to allow the existing permanent teeth some freedom of movement for healthy development. A successful first phase will have created enough room for permanent teeth to find an eruption path. Otherwise, without sufficient space, they may become impacted, cause damage to other permanent teeth or erupt severely displaced.
Occasionally, the teeth may erupt more rapidly than anticipated during the first phase. In this case, the patient is then able to transition directly into their second phase of treatment, without an intermediate resting period.
At the end of the first phase of treatment, teeth are not yet in their final positions. This will be determined and accomplished in the second phase of treatment. Selective removal of certain primary (baby) teeth may be in the best interest to support eruption during this resting phase. Therefore, periodic recall appointments for observation are necessary, usually on a four to six-month basis.
The goal of phase 2 treatment is to make sure each tooth has an exact location in the mouth where it’s in harmony with the lips, cheeks, tongue, and surrounding teeth. When this equilibrium is established, the teeth will function together properly. Phase 2 typically involves full braces or Invisalign on the upper and lower teeth. The second phase usually begins when most of the permanent have erupted, and generally requires braces on all the teeth for an average of 12-24 months. Retainers are always worn after this final phase to ensure you retain your beautiful smile for life!
We’re here to answer your questions, and we want you to know your options! Please don’t hesitate to reach out to us at any time. We want what’s best for you and your child’s smile, and we believe patient education is essential for helping you achieve the greatest results.