Pediatric dentistry is an area of dentistry that focuses on the oral health of children. Starting good dental hygiene habits early in life is important. As the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention states, more than 50% of children under the age of nine have had at least one cavity in their baby teeth, and…
Phase 1 Orthodontics from a Dentist for Kids
A dentist for kids might recommend phase 1 orthodontics if they detect your child is developing abnormalities with their teeth alignment. Phase 1 orthodontics creates a functional bite and straightens the child’s teeth. The treatment helps to create a healthy foundation for normal jaw and teeth development.
The premature or late loss of baby teeth can lead to teeth alignment issues. Baby teeth serve as space holders, keeping space for permanent teeth. Such issues, along with bite alignment problems like crowded teeth, crossbites, underbites, and overbites, can be addressed early on with phase 1 orthodontics.
What to expect when a pediatric dentist recommends phase 1 orthodontics
Phase 1 orthodontic treatment, also called early interceptive treatment, refers to orthodontic treatments that are performed on children before all of their permanent teeth erupt. These treatments are typically done between the ages of six and ten. A dentist typically recommends these treatments for kids when they detect a risk of developing moderate to severe orthodontic issues and determine that waiting can worsen things. Phase 1 orthodontic treatment is typically recommended when the pediatric dentist is sure they can make a significant difference in the development of the child’s bite.
The primary objective of phase 1 orthodontic treatment is to ensure there is enough room for all of the child’s teeth, reducing the risk of overcrowding, which leads to crooked teeth and other alignment issues. These treatments can also correct abnormalities in the child’s jaw and bite development.
Early correction of orthodontic issues reduces the risk of dental trauma. It also reduces the need to extract one or more of the child’s permanent teeth in the future to make more space for the rest of their teeth. Children with abnormalities in their bite who do not get phase 1 orthodontic treatment are significantly more likely to wear braces later in life.
Treatment times for early interceptive treatments are typically somewhere between 9 to 18 months. Children often wear retainers after these treatments to prevent their teeth from shifting back to their original positions.
Some of the appliances a dentist for kids might recommend for phase 1 orthodontics include:
- Space maintainers
- Specialized retainers
- Limited phase braces
- Expansion appliances
- Functional appliances
Phase 2 orthodontics
These are the teeth straightening and bite correcting treatments most people are familiar with. Phase 2 starts when braces are placed on an entire dental arc of teeth. They correct a wide range of issues like spaces between teeth, misaligned teeth, underbites, and overbites. Phase 2 orthodontics typically starts around the age of 11. Treatments can last up to 20 months, and patients typically have to wear a retainer after. Braces are the most commonly used appliances for phase 2 orthodontics, but clear aligners can also be used if the child is disciplined enough to keep up with them.
Protect your child’s bite
Phase 1 orthodontics helps to prevent major orthodontic issues from developing. Call or visit our Richmond clinic to set up an appointment with our pediatric dentist.
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