Though many orthodontic problems can wait to be corrected after all the baby teeth have fallen out, there are some orthodontic problems that are better corrected when the patient is younger. The goal of early treatment (often referred to as Phase 1 treatment) is to correct the growth of the jaw and certain bite problems, such as an underbite. Early treatment also helps to make room for permanent teeth to come in properly, lessening the chance of extractions in the future.
Some orthodontic problems that are sometimes better corrected early are: severe crowding, eruption problems, open bite, deep bite, crossbite, large “overbite,” underbite, narrow jaws, harmful habits and severely protruded front teeth. Fortunately, less than 10% of children need Phase 1 and Phase 2 treatment.
Phase 1 (early treatment) occurs when the child still has a mix of primary and permanent teeth. We usually start it between the ages of 7 to 10. Phase 1 treatment typically ranges from 6 – 15 months in duration.
In most cases, additional treatment will still be needed to align new, permanent teeth and address bite problems not fully corrected in Phase 1. This additional treatment using a full set of braces is called Phase 2.
In between Phase 1 and Phase 2, your child may need to wear retainers or a holding wire to maintain teeth and jaw positioning. Your child will see the orthodontist for periodic checks to evaluate his/her jaw development and eruption progress and to decide on the best time to start Phase 2 treatment.
Single stage full treatment usually involves upper and lower braces and ranges in duration from 12 – 30 months. For young patients, full treatment can usually begin either just before or slightly after all their permanent teeth have started to come in, usually between the ages 11 to 13.
This type of orthodontic treatment only has one stage, during which all the permanent teeth are moved into the ideal position to create an attractive and healthy smile. After treatment, retainers are worn to maintain a beautiful smile.
The best advantage of single stage treatment: it achieves the same results, requires fewer visits and is less expensive than two phase treatment.
Due to these many benefits, Dr. Haeger usually recommends single stage full treatment. However, when two phase treatment improves the results, he will recommend that approach.
The team at Haeger Orthodontics is committed to giving you the most efficient and effective treatment at the most appropriate time.