Early Orthodontic Treatment: An Overview of Phase I

Orthodontics Long Beach, CA

Phase I or early orthodontic treatment can reduce the need for wearing braces or clear aligners long-term during a child’s teenage years. Orthodontists can detect signs of jaw and tooth alignment concerns in children as young as six or seven, and early orthodontic treatment aims to prevent and reduce the need for more extensive treatment during Phase II treatments.

An overview of early orthodontic treatment

By learning more about Phase I early orthodontic treatment, parents can decide when and if to take their child will need this type of treatment. The following is an overview of early orthodontic treatment, including what it is, what the benefits are and when to consider it.

What exactly is Phase I treatment?

Phase I early orthodontic treatment is recommended for children between the ages of 6 through 12. Orthodontists may recommend Phase I treatment for children who show signs of teeth and jaw alignment concerns at an early age. It aims to reduce the need for Phase II treatment by increasing the amount of space for permanent teeth to grow in and to correct bite complications while the jaw is still malleable. Treatments may include using a palatal expander to allow teeth more room to come through, educating children on daily habits to allow for proper alignment, and more.

The benefits of early orthodontic treatment

The primary goal of Phase I early orthodontic treatment is to reduce the need for extensive treatment during Phase II. At an early age, the jaw is still soft, which allows it to be more easily expanded and shifted into a more appropriate position. In some instances, this can prevent the need for braces or clear aligners at a later age. At the least, it can reduce the length of time that braces or clear aligners are required to be worn.

When to consider early orthodontic treatment

Early orthodontic treatment is not required for every child. Some children have very minor alignment concerns or no concerns at all and only need to learn good habits to ensure proper tooth and jaw development. However, children who have crowded teeth, bite misalignments, or impacted teeth may require early orthodontic treatment. It is encouraged for all children to visit the orthodontist for a consultation before the age of 10 to gain a better understanding of the most likely development of the jaw and permanent teeth.

What to expect during a Phase I consultation visit

During the consultation visit, the orthodontist will examine the patient’s teeth and jaw and may order dental x-rays to see if there are any underlying development concerns. They can recommend treatment if Phase I is necessary and provide tips on how to reduce the risk of improper permanent tooth growth.

What are the goals of Phase I early orthodontic treatment?

Understanding more about the goal and purpose of early orthodontic treatment can help you decide whether it may be right for your child. The treatment plan for every patient is personalized according to their needs. Here are some of the most common reasons for Phase I early orthodontic treatment between the age of 6 and 12:

  • Limit the severity of orthodontic concerns at an early age
  • Make phase 2 treatment easier and shorter
  • Reduce the chance of needing a tooth extraction
  • Help the patient improve their self-image

In many cases, the purpose of Phase I early orthodontic treatment is to help prevent the worsening of oral health concerns. This helps limit the need for treatment during Phase II. Additionally, Phase I treatment can help many avoid the need for tooth extraction in order to create more space for teeth to shift during Phase II treatment.

What are the most common Phase I orthodontic treatments?

As mentioned, the treatment plan looks different for every patient as the plan is personalized according to the child’s needs specifically. There are some treatments that are more common during Phase I treatment, however. These treatments include:

  • Palatal expansion
  • Phase I braces
  • Clear aligners (for early orthodontics)

When braces are used, for example, they are usually only attached to the front four teeth. This helps avoid them from becoming crooked once molars, premolars, and other teeth emerge. Palatal expanders are used for expanding the jaw and allowing for more space for permanent teeth to emerge.

The bottom line

There are many advantages to undergoing early orthodontic treatment. If you are interested in scheduling a consultation visit to see if your child can benefit from early orthodontic treatment, then contact our orthodontic clinic today.

Request an appointment here: https://paramountdentalspecialty.com or call Paramount Dental Care & Specialty at (562) 450-1261 for an appointment in our Long Beach office.

Check out what others are saying about our dental services on Yelp: Orthodontics in Long Beach, CA.

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