What is Phase 1 Orthodontic Treatment?

Why does my child need phase 1 braces?

Have you been told your child needs braces? Was “Phase 1” braces recommended? At Grand Dental Group, we pair with the specialists at AIM Orthodontics to determine if a pediatric patient would benefit from two phase or single phase orthodontic therapy.

Let us help explain why Phase 1 treatment is becoming more common among young children:

For nearly all children, our orthodontists recommend an evaluation by the age of 7-8 years old. Changes in orthodontic treatments and philosophies over the past couple of decades now encourage early intervention when possible or indicated. It is common for orthodontists to recommend “Phase 1” braces, or early treatment that starts around the ages of 7-9 years. This initial stage assists the child’s growing and developing jaw to form properly and creates more space for future adult teeth to erupt. Oftentimes, Phase 1 can eliminate or reduce the need to have adult teeth removed or other oral surgery. In addition, Phase 1 can prevent a future bite alignment problem from developing, guide teeth into the correct position as the jaw is growing, and improve the aesthetic appearance of the child’s smile. Treatment during Phase 1 may include the placement of brackets and wires, space maintainers, palate expanders, or retainers. What is appropriate for your child will be determined by your orthodontist or braces specialist.

Phase 1 generally lasts 6 -18 months for most patients. Once this is completed, the braces or appliances may be removed for a period of time. In some cases, the orthodontist may place a space maintainer, wire, or bar to hold the position until more baby teeth fall out. When the child is older, preteen or teen years, the second phase of treatment will begin.

Phase 2 orthodontic treatment may run about 12-24 months, depending on the patient’s needs. This phase will move permanent teeth into their final position. It is at this point that parents will be able to appreciate the finished, improved cosmetic appearance and function of their child’s bite and smile. In addition, Phase 2 helps grow the confidence and self-esteem of teens.

Patients that are most likely to benefit from two phase orthodontic treatment are those who have:

  • Severely crowded or crooked teeth
  • A small jaw or lack of space
  • Unusually large spacing
  • A narrow or vaulted palate
  • An overbite (front teeth cover bottom teeth when closed)
  • An overjet (front teeth stick out from bottom teeth when closed)
  • A crossbite (teeth are misaligned when biting)
  • A thumb or finger sucking habit
  • An open bite (teeth do not touch when closed)
  • Teeth that are erupting out of sequence
  • Missing teeth

Although these conditions seem to cover nearly all patients who would benefit from orthodontic care, not all patients need two phase treatment. When your child visits his or her orthodontist, the doctor will determine what is best. Be sure to ask your orthodontist why two phase treatment is preferred and recommended. Also inquire as to what the benefits or drawbacks may be. Most orthodontists, including AIM Orthodontics, accept insurances and offer payment plans, among other financial arrangement options.

If you have questions or would like to know if your child is eligible for Phase 1 or 2 orthodontics contact Grand Dental today at any of our five locations in Aurora, Lake Zurich, Wilmington, Sycamore, Franklin Park, or Channahon, IL.

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