How Does Phase 1 Orthodontic Treatment Benefit Children?

You may be wondering how we help our youngest patients find orthodontic success. One common approach is called two-phase treatment, and our team at Texas Family Orthodontics is here to address this question: How does Phase 1 orthodontic treatment benefit children?

Planning Ahead

The American Association of Orthodontists recommends all children have a check-up with an orthodontist by age 7. During these early visits, we evaluate the growth and development of your child’s teeth and jaws and make sure things are on the right track. If there are any problems, they will be caught early enough to treat. To learn about the first stage of this treatment, we’ll start by explaining how both phases relate to one another. Two-phase treatment will always be executed to best fit the patient’s needs, and it’s especially for children. 

  1. Phase 1 (Early Treatment or Interceptive Phase): This first stage works because kids are still growing and still have some baby teeth. We use this phase to work on orthodontic conditions such as severe crowding, crossbites, or protrusion of front teeth. If we have the opportunity to address these when kids are between ages 7-10, it can be an easier process overall.
  2. Phase 2 (Comprehensive Treatment): By the time kids are 11-14, they’re ready for the second phase. We often use this stage for full braces (which can be metal, clear, or even go behind the teeth), focusing on the alignment of their permanent teeth as well as their jaws. Phase 1 will have set the stage for successful treatment. 

About Phase 1

With both phases in mind, let’s discuss how Phase 1 specifically benefits our young patients:

  • Severe Crowding: Dr. Vo might recommend early treatment when there’s significant crowding among the teeth. Earlier intervention allows us to provide additional space for the proper eruption of the patient’s permanent teeth.
  • Dental and Skeletal Discrepancies: Phase 1 treatment is a fantastic solution when there are vast differences in the sizes of the lower and upper jaws, as well as other skeletal concerns. 
  • Crossbites: Crossbites are conditions that can happen when a patient’s upper and lower teeth do not bite on the correct side. This can be fixed by guiding the growth of the jaw, which also prevents further misalignment as time goes on.
  • Protruding Front Teeth: Kids who have protruding front teeth can directly benefit from this approach. We can correct this protrusion early on, and help to avoid any injuries that can be caused by it.
  • Habits and Other Oral Health Concerns: Thumb-sucking or tongue-thrusting can cause orthodontic issues, but they can be resolved during this phase. Early intervention can also help patients manage oral health issues, such as difficulties in chewing or speaking.
  • Space Maintenance: A common aspect of Phase 1 treatment is utilizing appliances to maintain or create space for permanent teeth. This is especially critical when there is a risk of impaction or other eruption issues with permanent teeth.
  • Functional Issues: Children often deal with difficulty related to chewing, speech, and jaw function, all of which can be addressed during this phase of treatment.
  • Improving Facial Esthetics: Treatment being initiated early on is a great way to initiate more symmetrical development of the face and profile as children grow.
  • Improving Dental Esthetics: Sometimes, children may not want to wait until they are 11-14 years old to have well-aligned upper front teeth. Phase I treatment can help them achieve straight teeth sooner to boost their confidence.
  • Expansion: While children are still growing, we are able to widen the upper jaw to correct crossbites, make room for permanent teeth, and give them a broader smile. In some cases, expanders can also improve airway issues.

How Does Phase 1 Orthodontic Treatment Benefit Children?

More FAQs

We understand this type of terminology might be a little confusing at first, so here’s some further explanation you might find relevant to your child’s case. Also, bear in mind that Dr. Vo and our team are expert resources for other inquiries along the way. 

Q: What is the duration of phase 1 treatment?

A: There is no set timeline for every patient. It depends entirely on the condition of the patient. Therefore, Phase 1 treatment can range from a few months to over a year.

Q: Will my insurance cover phase 1 treatment?

A: Like any treatment, coverage will inevitably vary among plans and providers. Directly contacting your provider is the best way to get answers, but our team at Texas Family Orthodontics can also help find answers in the process. 

Q: Is phase 1 treatment necessary for every child?

A: No, it is recommended based on individual needs. While some children may only require comprehensive treatment in their adolescent years, early intervention is crucial in specific cases and preferred in others. Each recommendation is tailored to the unique circumstances of your child.

Q: Does phase 1 treatment eliminate the need for braces later on?

A: Probably not. Remember, both phases ultimately work together. Phase 1 tends to make the process of braces more effective overall for young patients and can address miscellaneous issues at the same time.

Q: How frequently are follow-up appointments required during this process?

A: Scheduled check-ins with Dr. Vo are an imperative aspect of any orthodontic treatment. Timing will depend on our treatment plan, but it’s truly important to attend these visits as instructed. 

How Does Phase 1 Orthodontic Treatment Benefit Children?

Spectacular Solutions

Texas Family Orthodontics is proud to provide service for all ages, but we also know that our pediatric patients often warrant a special type of care. Our San Antonio and Windcrest offices are proud to specialize in this service. Feel free to contact us here.