Orthodontic Treatment: One Phase or Two?

As a culture, we tend to think of braces as a teenage experience, so it can be surprising to learn that the American Association of Orthodontists (AAO) recommends that children have an initial orthodontic consultation by age 7. If a child is starting to develop complicated orthodontic problems, this early checkup allows the orthodontist to head them off with Phase 1 treatment. Below are 5 conditions that you, as a parent/guardian should look out for. Patient at McSurdy Orthodontics in Gilbertsville and Collegeville PA

Here are 5 conditions that warrant early treatment during mixed dentition (ages 6-9).

1. Mouth breathing /snoring
This can cause narrow arches which delays and causes poor tooth emergence. Our patented Press-On expanders painlessly correct this condition.

2. Lack of Space for Permanent Teeth
Permanent incisors normally emerge at age 6. Delayed emergence usually indicates a lack of space. This is easily corrected with painless expanders and or with short term braces (less than one year).

3. Thumb or Finger Sucking
This causes flared incisors and can stunt lower jaw growth. Early correction (ages 5-9) helps the child’s growth to normalize and helps with speech and chewing.

4. Underbite
Top teeth behind the lower teeth can cause the need for jaw surgery if left unchecked as well as tooth wear and periodontal problems often result as well and short-term braces between the ages of 6-9 yields dramatic correction.

5. Overbite
Upper teeth protrusion is often the result of thumb sucking or mouth breathing. Short term braces around the ages 6-9 quickly correct this condition and we never use headgear. Traumatic injury to the upper front teeth often results when orthodontic correction is not pursued in time.

What is Two-Phase Orthodontics? 

In traditional orthodontic treatment, the patient (who is in their mid-teen or older) is fitted for their appliance, which they wear until their teeth are properly aligned. In some cases, extractions or surgery may be necessary. This treatment all happens in a single phase, followed by wearing retainers to keep the teeth from shifting back.

Two-two phase orthodontic treatment means that part of the orthodontic work is done when the patient still has most of their baby teeth, with the goal of minimizing developing problems so that treatment in their teens will be faster and simpler. To learn more about the benefits of early treatment (Phase 1) please click here.

Early treatment between the ages 6-9 pays huge dividends and avoids big problems in addition to raising the child’s self-esteem. Please call our office if you see any of the above conditions.