Phase 1 orthodontics refers to orthodontic treatment performed between the ages of 7-10. The American Association of Orthodontists (AAO) recommends that a child's first check-up be at age 7. At this time, your child has enough permanent teeth to allow Dr. Mindy to spot subtle problems with jaw growth patterns, as well as emerging teeth. Phase 1 orthodontics is often required if your child has major oral development issues that should be corrected while their mouths are still growing.
Phase 1 orthodontics is also sometimes called “early orthodontic treatment” or “interceptive orthodontics.” This may be required if your child has certain irregularities in their oral development, such as an abnormally small mouth, improperly-erupting teeth, and other issues. Treatment usually begins between the ages of 6-9, while your child’s mouth is still developing. This kind of early intervention is very beneficial because it much easier to treat young children with orthodontics since their jaws and mouths are still growing. Certain oral development issues can only be corrected during this time of development.
The treatments and appliances used in phase 1 orthodontics will vary based on your child’s unique orthodontic needs. For example, if your child has a very small mouth, a palate expander may be necessary to enlarge their jaw and give their teeth the best chance to erupt properly. If your little one is developing a serious underbite or overbite, a facemask can help reposition the jaws, or a functional appliance may be used to correct bite position.
It's not always easy to spot if your child may need orthodontic treatment. In fact, even teeth that look straight may be hiding a problem bite. Here are some things to look for in your child that may indicate they may need orthodontic intervention:
- Early or late loss of baby teeth
- Difficulty in chewing or biting
- Breathing through the mouth
- Crowded, misplaced or blocked-out teeth
- Jaws that are too far forward or back
- Biting the cheek or biting into the roof of the mouth
- Protruding teeth
- Upper and lower teeth that don't meet
- An unbalanced facial appearance
- Grinding or clenching of the teeth
This depends on your child’s oral health. In some cases, your child may still need braces as they grow and their permanent teeth come in. However, even if they do require treatment with braces, proper phase 1 orthodontic treatment will help reduce the severity of their orthodontic issues and provide them with a faster, more effective procedure in the future.