March 11, 2022
Two-phase orthodontic treatment is growing in popularity now that parents are finding that treating problems while their child’s mouth is still developing can prevent more serious issues from happening down the road. For many years, it was mostly older kids and teens who wore braces, but we now make recommendations for children as young as six or seven to begin exploring their options for treatments. In this post, we're going to show you how two-phase orthodontics work and what to seek from experts. Let’s get started...
While you might be more worried about when your child will lose their first tooth than you are about their adult smile, the truth is that your child’s happiness with their teeth alignment begins now. Fortunately, we have treatments available that are designed for making sure that our youngest patients are comfortable and able to comply with their treatment plan. We also want to make sure that you are informed about the importance of two-phase treatment by offering you these facts that clear up any confusion that you may experience at the thought of your child needing treatment so early.
The ideal time to have your child’s first orthodontic consultation is before all of their permanent teeth come in. During this first initial visit, many parents find out that their child does not need two-phase orthodontic treatment. If this happens for you, then you will be given recommendations for a follow-up visit once your child’s permeant teeth are mostly in. This is also a great time to talk about potential orthodontic problems that are not necessary to correct now but could require treatment in the future. Essentially, two-phase treatment is not recommended for all young patients. If it is recommended for your child, then there is a good reason for it to be done.
Baby teeth are sometimes viewed as disposable pieces of enamel that do little more than serve as a first set that eventually fall out if they get damaged. While it is true that those first teeth allow your child some time to practice their oral hygiene, they also serve as essential placeholders for the permanent teeth. Phase One of your child’s treatment begins while these teeth are still in their mouth because this is the time in your child’s life when their jaw is still developing. Moving baby teeth can do things such as alter the way the ligaments that hold the teeth in your child’s gums work together. This lays the groundwork for the permanent teeth to come in where we want them for a better functioning smile.
People often think of orthodontic treatment as being done to improve the appearance of a child’s smile. While it is true that shifting crooked baby teeth will make your child’s smile more aesthetically-pleasing, it is important to realize that there is a more important purpose to this phase of their treatment. Moving a child’s first teeth is done to help prepare the mouth to have enough space for their permanent teeth to come in. Just think for a minute about how hard it would be for adult teeth to come into a mouth where the adjacent baby teeth are too close together. In many cases, more serious orthodontic treatment is preventable by starting your child’s treatment early on while their baby teeth are still in their mouth. There's so much more below...
The thought of having to keep up with an Invisalign retainer while your kid still needs to be reminded not to leave their coat at school may make you shudder. Fortunately, this is another issue that you probably don’t need to worry about. Your child’s doctor understands the significance of their age, and they will make a treatment plan that is easy to follow. In most cases, traditional metal braces are the preferred option for moving baby teeth. Not only are they better at correcting severe misalignments, but many kids this age enjoy showing off their new orthodontic appliance to their friends.
Your first thought as a parent may be regarding the reasoning behind beginning treatment at such an early age. After all, your child may not be worried about how their smile looks just yet, or you may not think that their crooked teeth or bad bite pose a problem. However, most children have their permanent front two teeth in their mouth by the time that they are old enough to see the orthodontist. At this point, the first phase of treatment can help to protect these teeth from damage that could occur if they stick out too much. Sadly, some kids knock out their first permanent teeth during falls or by biting down too hard due to misalignments with their jaw that are correctable with treatment. Two-phase treatments are also perfect for helping to avoid issues with permanent teeth as they grow in such as having one stay impacted within the gums. Children who have severe misalignments in their jaw could also avoid surgery later by having the issue corrected now while the jaw bone is still developing.
Your child will likely not be wearing orthodontic appliances throughout their entire childhood. With two-phase treatment, there is a brief resting period while we wait for the permanent teeth to come in and allow the changes that we made time to set in. Your child’s treatment plan will tell you when to bring them back in for follow up appointments that let you know when to begin the second phase. Most kids welcome the second phase of their treatment since it can involve more options such as being able to use Invisalign to improve their smile.
At King Orthodontics, we encourage parents to follow the current recommendations of seeing an orthodontist once they reach the age of seven. While your child may not need two-phase orthodontic treatment, it is best to find out early when it is still an option. Click here to schedule your a complimentary consultation that will help you make a plan to give your child a smile that they’ll love for a lifetime.