Getting braces or Invisalign clear aligners is an exciting time for many teens, but what if your little one has orthodontic issues that are affecting their lifestyle? It is not uncommon for younger patients to require an early round of treatment while they still have their baby teeth. Called Two-Phase orthodontic treatment, this approach gives patients with more complex dental concerns a head start on a straight smile. Here’s why your child might need two-phase orthodontic treatment from Botsford Family Orthodontics!
The Importance of Two-Phase Orthodontic Treatment
Did you know that the American Association of Orthodontics recommends that a child see an orthodontist no later than age seven? The younger your child meets with Dr. Botsford, the sooner our team can begin tracking their development and working on a treatment plan that ensures your child has a healthy set of teeth. When you bring your child in for their first appointment, the Botsford Family Orthodontics team may recommend beginning two-phase treatment.
This process is successful because it uses the natural growth of a child’s jaw to facilitate treatment. In other words, because we begin two-phase treatment when a child is seven, we can guide the natural growth of your child’s teeth into a straight smile. Only about ten percent of children have conditions severe enough to require two-phase treatment. However, early intervention can cut the risk of future conditions as well as the overall cost of treating them.
Here’s Where Two-Phase Treatment Is Necessary
Once you bring your child in at age seven, we can begin to track their development and determine whether two-phase treatment is necessary. The most common reasons Dr. Botsford recommends Phase I treatment are severe crossbites, underbites, and crowding, among other conditions.
When your child has an overbite, their upper teeth significantly protrude over their lower teeth. Slight overbites are incredibly common, but a more dramatic case can be detrimental to the teeth and the gums, causing problems such as tooth mobility and gum recession.
With a crossbite, some of the upper teeth are behind the lower teeth instead of in front of them. This can cause issues to the teeth in crossbite, such as tooth mobility and gum recession. This can also incorrectly put pressure on the teeth and makes them more vulnerable to chipping, which can cause significant pain. Two-phase treatment can alleviate these risks and help your child feel better.
Dental crowding occurs when there is insufficient space in the mouth for all permanent teeth to fit. Crowding can cause misaligned or crooked teeth that can lead to a wide range of other orthodontic problems in the future.
What to Expect from Two-Phase Treatment
Two-phase orthodontics is an early intervention method that allows Dr. Botsford to catch potential orthodontic issues early in a child’s life, so they don’t become bigger problems later. Not every child requires two-phase treatment, but for those who do, here’s what to expect:
Phase I: Rough Draft
The goal of Phase I treatment is to take a first run at comprehensive care, guiding a child’s baby teeth in line to pave a better path for their adult teeth to grow in the future. You might think of Phase I as a rough draft: it provides a starting point for developing a straight smile that can be honed and “edited” for touch-ups later in life.
Phase I treatment can begin as early as age seven and works best when your child’s baby teeth are still present. If your child requires Phase I treatment, our Botsford Family Orthodontics team will design a tailored treatment plan to fit their needs.
Treatment options may include expanders for narrow jaws, a protraction facemask for underbites, or an early round of metal braces or even clear aligners. Most patients undergo Phase I treatment for six to twelve months. Depending on their unique needs, however, this timeline may vary.
After Phase I treatment is complete, your child will enter a resting phase called retention. During this time, they’ll wear a retainer to maintain the results achieved during Phase I treatment. This resting period gives your child’s permanent teeth a chance to grow in. They’ll also meet with Dr. Botsford every six to twelve months so that our team can monitor their progress and decide when Phase II treatment will be necessary.
Phase II: Final Copy
Now that both Phase I and the retention phase are complete, you should already see progress in your child’s smile. For some children, Phase I treatment is all they need for their permanent teeth to grow correctly, but most children require Phase II treatment for the best results. That is because Phase II rounds out Two-Phase treatment, honing the results achieved by Phase I, and putting the finishing touches on your child’s smile.
Phase II treatment looks much more like the traditional treatment you see during the teenage years. Typically, Dr. Botsford applies metal braces to the top and bottom teeth. However, clear aligners may also be an option for your child’s Phase II treatment plan. This process helps fine-tune your child’s smile, giving them results that will last a lifetime!
Give Your Child a Head Start On a Straight Smile!
Setting your child up for oral health success should be a top priority, and with the team at Botsford Family Orthodontics, we make it easy. Whether your little one requires Two-Phase treatment or you just want them to visit us for observation, age 7 is the magic number for a first orthodontic appointment! Contact our office to schedule your child’s free consultation in Medford today!