What is Phase 1 Orthodontic Treatment?

Understanding the early stages of orthodontic treatment can be crucial for your child’s dental health. Moffett & Walley Orthodontics prioritizes patient education so you can make the best choices for you and your family. This month’s blog aims to explain phase one treatment and provide patients with essential information on how early intervention can contribute to a lifetime of healthy smiles.

What Is Phase 1 Orthodontic Treatment?

Phase one, also known as interceptive or early orthodontic treatment, is a specialized approach to address jaw growth and dental development issues. Typically recommended for children between the ages of 7 and 10, this phase capitalizes on their ongoing growth to adjust their teeth and jaw alignment. How does this work exactly? Well, since children’s bones are still developing, they’re moldable like clay. That moldability means we can move their teeth and jaws more easily to where they need to be!

Phase one treatment is all about making sure there’s a welcoming space for those adult teeth to come in and fixing any jaw issues early. If we don’t catch these things now, they could mess with your kid’s oral health down the line. By jumping on these early steps, phase 1 really sets the stage for your kid’s dental growth, helping them out with their overall health and smile game.

How do we do it? By using spacers, a palate expander, headgear, partial braces, Forsus springs, and Invisalign aligners, we’re able to align the jaw, space out the teeth, fix overcrowding and expand the upper jaw to prepare for a lifetime of a healthy, pretty, functional alignment.

Signs Your Child Might Need Phase 1 Treatment

Have you thought, “I wonder if my child qualifies for braces; their teeth aren’t exactly lining up”? Here are some signs your child might be the perfect candidate for phase one treatment:

  • Crowded or Spaced-Out Teeth: If it looks like your child’s mouth teeth are too close for comfort or social distancing too much, it might be time to consider phase 1 treatment.
  • Bite Issues: Notice your little one’s bite looking a bit off. Whether it’s an overbite, underbite, crossbite, or open bite, this can be a heads-up that their jaw and teeth might need some orthodontic guidance.
  • Early or Late Loss of Baby Teeth: If the tooth fairy visits your house significantly earlier or later than expected, it’s a clue that your child’s dental development might need an orthodontic check-up.
  • Chewing or Biting Challenges: Does your child struggle or make unusual movements while chewing? It’s not just quirky; it might be a sign they need orthodontic attention. 
  • Thumb Sucking or Other Oral Habits: Those adorable habits that babies have can sometimes affect how their teeth line up. If your child holds on to these habits past toddlerhood, it might impact their dental development. Fortunately, we can fix it with orthodontic treatment.

Every child’s smile is unique, and they deserve a smile that makes them feel confident while also being healthy and functional. Phase one treatment can help this happen! However, not all children need phase one treatment. Most children skip straight to phase two—which usually occurs in the teenage years. Phase one is typically reserved for children with more severe or complex needs, but it’s not always obvious to the untrained eye. You should bring your child in for a smile assessment by age seven to be on the safe side.

What is Phase 1 Orthodontic Treatment?

How Can Phase 1 Treatment Benefit My Child?

Starting phase one, orthodontic treatment is a leap towards a future of dazzling smiles and healthy bites. This early intervention is about straightening teeth and laying the groundwork for lifelong oral health. Here are some of the standout benefits:

    • A Smooth Path for Permanent Teeth: Think of phase one treatment as rolling out the red carpet for your child’s permanent teeth. By addressing spacing or alignment issues early, we’re making sure there’s a VIP entrance for those new teeth. When there’s enough space for the teeth to erupt, it reduces the need for more expensive and complex treatments later on.
    • Guiding Jaw Growth: Phase one can positively influence jaw growth, ensuring harmony between the upper and lower jaws. This developmental assistance contributes to a balanced facial appearance and promotes better function. Chewing, talking, oral hygiene, and even breathing are easier when your child can properly open and close their jaw.
    • Promoting Better Oral Hygiene: Aligned teeth are easier to clean, plain and simple. Early treatment can help prevent the nooks and crannies where plaque and cavities like to party, leading to a healthier mouth overall.
    • Boosting Self-Esteem: A confident smile goes a long way, especially during childhood. By addressing noticeable dental issues early, we might be able to lift spirits and build confidence. Children might feel less alienated from their peers if their smile looks similar to their peers, and since straight teeth are less likely to have oral health issues, they don’t have to feel self-conscious about bad breath or cosmetic damage from poor oral health.
    • Simplifying Future Treatments: Consider phase one as the first chapter in your child’s orthodontic story. Getting a head start on some dental issues means we can often cut down on the time and hassle needed for treatments later on, like during phase two or when they’re older.
    • Saves Time & Money: Poor oral health, longer time spent in the second phase, and more complex orthodontic issues can all be costly. With phase one treatment, 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. So, contrary to a common misconception, phase one treatment can save you time and money!

What is Phase 1 Orthodontic Treatment?

Visit Moffett & Walley Orthodontics To Find Out If Your Child Qualifies For Treatment!

If you’re curious whether phase one treatment is right for your child, Moffett & Walley Orthodontics is here to guide you. Schedule a free consultation for your child today at either our Clinton or Madison locations, and let’s start this transformative journey together.