What is Early Orthodontic treatment?
The enthusiasm felt by our Doctor's and team about Early Orthodontic Treatment is evident in any discussion, and its benefits cannot be matched! The general dental community and our patients clearly recognize the valuable benefits obtained by this early treatment.
Early treatment enables the top and bottom jaws to be precisely aligned as they develop; jaw size is coordinated with tooth size. Each child's growth potential is maximized so that all of the permanent teeth have room to come in naturally. In most cases, future problems such as extractions, impacted teeth and jaw surgeries are avoided!
Benefits of Early Two-Phase Treatment:
- Raises a young person's self esteem
- Eliminates unnecessary permanent extractions and/or surgery (along with discomfort and cost)
- Prevents impacted teeth by creating adequate space
- Total time in braces is significantly reduced
- Treatment is typically completed during middle school
- Pre-teens are most cooperative and enthusiastic about wearing braces
- Reduces the cause of fractures for children- protruding teeth
- Intercepting early problems makes the entire treatment process more comfortable
Phase I- The Growth Phase
The growth phase typically begins around age seven and lasts approximately 12-18 months. Visits to our office are scheduled every eight to ten weeks. The goals of Phase I are very specific and are achieved with a few simple appliances and partial braces only:
- Expanding and reshaping jaws to make room for all permanent teeth to erupt
- Improving the bite- malocclusions such as crossbites, underbites, overbites
- Aligning permanent front teeth
After growth phase goals are met, appliances and braces are removed and retainers are provided to the patient. Children enjoy personalizing their retainer with unique color combinations and decal choices.
Retainer time between phases ranges from 12-36 months. During this period the remaining permanent teeth are allowed to erupt. Patients are monitored periodically to ensure Phase I results are maintained, to evaluate erupting teeth and to determine the optimum time to complete this two-phase process.
Occasionally, permanent teeth erupt more rapidly than anticipated. Should this occur, the parents and child will have the option of continuing directly (or rolling in) to the second phase of treatment without removal of braces.
Phase II- The Alignment Phase
The alignment phase begins when most of the permanent teeth have erupted. This last phase does involve braces on all teeth, thereby finishing the process. Treatment time ranges from 12-24 months. As in the growth phase, goals for the alignment phase are very specific:
- Aligning the newly erupted permanent teeth
- Obtaining total bite correction so teeth can function properly and last a lifetime