Orthodontist with happy child.

Does My Child Need Two-Phase Orthodontic Treatment?

You may not realize that orthodontics doesn’t always start with braces. There are times when your child may need to begin with another type of treatment between the ages of 7 and 10, before getting braces. This helps to prevent issues from arising later on, and can prepare your child’s teeth and jaws for future treatment even though your child may not have all of their permanent teeth yet. Does your child need two-phase orthodontic treatment?

What is Two-Phase Orthodontic Treatment?

Two-phase orthodontic treatment calls for two distinct phases of treatment, as the name implies. Phase 1 focuses on addressing skeletal and muscular issues, such as jaw growth. For example, a child may have abnormal jaw growth and could benefit from an expander to help widen the dental arch and prevent serious issues from developing later on. Phase 2 focuses on getting the teeth into their proper positions, usually by way of braces or Invisalign. The time between Phase 1 and Phase 2 can vary, depending on the type of issue and when Phase 1 treatment begins. It can be months or years, and the child often wears a retainer during this waiting period.

How to Tell If My Child Need This Type of Treatment

There are tell-tale signs to look for that can alert you to the fact your child may need two-phase orthodontic treatment. These include:

  • Issues with biting and chewing
  • Crossbite formation
  • Crowded teeth
  • Protruding teeth
  • Early loss of baby teeth

Two-phase orthodontic treatment doesn’t apply to everyone, just those who an orthodontist believes will benefit from it the most. It’s best to discuss any issues that you find with your orthodontist to see if two-phase treatment might be an option for your child.

When to Begin Two-Phase Treatment

Starting your child on their orthodontic journey early can help to correct issues and prevent problems from arising later on in life. That’s why it’s best to see your orthodontist early to assess the issues that are going on with your child’s teeth. It’s recommended that children start seeing an orthodontist around age 7, with Phase 1 of treatment beginning between age 7 and 10, and Phase 2 beginning in the tween or teen years, after they have the majority of their adult teeth.

Advantages of Two-Phase Orthodontic Treatment

Two-phase orthodontic treatment provides your child with a healthy, functional bite that will last a lifetime. Often times, treatment will call for a little extra help to get your child to this point before braces are put on. Phase 1 helps to develop the jaw correctly, so it can accommodate all of the permanent teeth that will be erupting. Phase 2 focuses on the teeth functioning together properly. The advantage of two-phase treatment is it fixes the smaller issues before they become larger issues. This can help your child to have a perfect, healthy smile they can be proud of for the rest of their life.