What Is Phase One Orthodontic Treatment?

Every smile tells a story of growth, confidence, and joy. But did you know that the secret to a lifetime of radiant smiles often begins with early orthodontic care? At Dr. Melanie Orthodontics, we’re passionate about unlocking the full potential of your child’s smile through phase one treatment. But what is phase one treatment, and how does it help your child smile confidently? Keep reading to find out!

What Is Phase One Orthodontic Treatment?

Phase one orthodontic treatment, also known as interceptive or early orthodontic treatment, is a proactive approach to a healthy alignment designed for young children. This initial phase targets the early signs of dental issues, focusing on guiding the development of the jaw and addressing any potential problems that could complicate future dental health.

Here’s what we use phase 1 for:

  • Jaw Growth: To ensure the jaw develops appropriately to accommodate emerging teeth and improve facial symmetry and jaw function. It’s like when an artist uses a stencil to trace a perfect shape. We’re guiding the jaw like how the stencil directs the pencil.
  • Correcting Bite Problems: To address bite issues like overbite, underbite, deep bite, crowding, spacing or crossbite early.

We might use limited braces, expanders, or spacers to achieve the necessary results. 

Who Needs Phase One Treatment?

Now, not every child needs phase one treatment. However, the only way to know for sure if your child could benefit from two-phase treatment is to see an orthodontic specialist, like our board-certified Dr. Melanie Wang. With her expertise and state-of-the-art technology, she can determine the best course of action for your child.

Your child’s pediatric dentist might refer you to Dr. Melanie, but you don’t need a referral to schedule a free consultation with us. If you notice any of the following, you might want to bring your child in for evaluation sooner rather than later.

  • Early or late loss of baby teeth: This may indicate development issues that must be addressed.
  • Bite Issues and Jaw Pain: A misaligned jaw can make talking, chewing, and performing oral hygiene uncomfortable or painful. 
  • Crowding or Spacing: If your child’s teeth are growing close together or far apart, they may need braces to correct this.
  • Prolonged Thumb-Sucking or Pacifier Use: Though some kids can suck their thumb or use a pacifier for longer than recommended and not have any issues, that isn’t always the cause. If your child has had difficulty quitting one or both of these habits, they are at a higher risk of misalignment issues.
  • Mouth Breathing: Sometimes, a narrow upper jaw (also called the roof of the mouth) can narrow the nasal passages and cause mouth breathing, increasing your child’s risk of dental health problems.
  • Rows of Teeth Don’t Match: Orthodontic care in childhood can help bottom teeth and upper teeth align. Besides discomfort and challenges chewing, you might see one or more malocclusions such as protruding front teeth, a gap between the top and bottom teeth (open bite), and the front top teeth covering the bottom front teeth (deep bite).
  • Speech Impediments: Alignment issues are not always the cause of speech impediments, but they could be! When the teeth and/or jaw don’t align well, the tongue and jaw joint might not be able to function correctly. This reduced functionality could result in pain, discomfort, a lisp, spitting when talking, and more.

The American Association of Orthodontics recommends all children see an orthodontist by the age of seven. And we agree! The need for treatment is not always obvious to the untrained eye. So, whether you notice any warning signs or not, we suggest coming to see Dr. Melanie at around that age. It’s better to be safe than sorry!

What Is Phase One Orthodontic Treatment?

What Are The Benefits Of Phase One Treatment?

Are you thinking, “What’s the point of getting phase one treatment if they’ll need braces again when they’re older?” we’re glad you asked! It’s a good question.

As mentioned before, phase one treatment isn’t for every child. It is usually reserved for children with complex cases needing extra help. Because children’s bones are still developing, they’re much easier to manipulate, so starting care when they’re younger can make the overall process more straightforward, quicker, and more comfortable for your child. By creating space for adult teeth to erupt appropriately and improving jaw placement while the jaw is easier to adjust, your child’s orthodontic experience will be much simpler.

On top of that, it is usually cheaper! Children who need phase one but don’t get it will spend more time in phase 2 when they’re older, increasing the cost and risk of needing more invasive procedures to fix issues if their more developed bones aren’t cooperative.

Other benefits include:

  • Improves Oral Health: By fixing alignment issues, your child is less likely to have oral health issues because oral hygiene will be more manageable, effective, and comfortable. It might also help your child develop better oral hygiene habits if they don’t associate the routine with negative emotions.
  • Prevents More Serious Issues: Like with most problems in life, addressing alignment concerns at the start will help to avoid more complicated problems if the issue worsens over time.
  • Boost In Self-Esteem: Severe misalignments can be the cause of bullying, feeling alienated from your peers, or a negative opinion of oneself. Making alignment corrections can significantly boost your child’s self-esteem if they like what they see in the mirror and feel accepted by their peers.  
  • Saves money: Poor oral health, longer time spent in the second phase, and more complex orthodontic issues can all be costly.
  • Saves Time: You and your child will spend less time at the dentist and orthodontist’s office if they can improve their alignment when they’re younger.
What Is Phase One Orthodontic Treatment?

Schedule Your Child’s Free Consultation Today!

Dr. Melanie Orthodontics in San Diego and Rancho Sante Fe is committed to providing personalized care that addresses the unique needs of each young patient. Contact our team today to schedule a free consultation and learn more about how interceptive orthodontic treatment can make a difference in your child’s quality of life. Together, we can give your special one a gift that lasts a lifetime.