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Phase 1 Orthodontics

Young girl showing off purple bracketsYour child’s smile is one of the most precious things in the world, and you’d do anything to make sure it’s healthy, happy, and strong throughout their lifetime. In addition to taking them in for regular dental visits, the American Association of Orthodontists recommends that a child should see a board-certified orthodontist by the time they are about 7 years old. Why? Because by this time, all of the baby teeth should have erupted, and this will allow an orthodontist to see how a child’s teeth, jaw, and face are developing. With these early appointments, they’ll be able to spot any existing problems as well as recommend treatment.

Phase 1 Orthodontics can be used when a child still has some of their baby teeth and before all of their permanent teeth have erupted (Phase 2 is for when the permanent teeth have emerged). It will usually consist of braces or a simpler orthodontic appliance. While it might be easy to think that misaligned baby teeth are harmless simply because they’ll eventually fall out, this is far from true. The baby teeth actually play an important role in clearing the path for the permanent teeth as well as enabling your child to eat, speak, and breathe comfortably.

Issues with the baby teeth can often lead to problems in all of these areas, and without early intervention, a child will usually need more involved and extended treatments to correct their problems. The point of Phase 1 Orthodontics is to avoid and lessen future orthodontic problems by mitigating and correcting current ones.

Young girl with traditional braces

Does My Child Need Phase 1 Orthodontics?

Your child may benefit from Phase 1 Orthodontics if:

  • They have crooked, crowded, or gapped teeth
  • They have protruding teeth
  • Their teeth don’t come together correctly
  • They have habits that could affect their dental development (such as thumb/digit sucking)
  • They have speaking issues
  • They have problems breathing comfortably
  • If their jaw isn’t in proportion to the rest of their head
  • If incoming adult teeth are being obstructed by baby teeth

Even if your child doesn’t exhibit any of these symptoms, they may still be able to benefit from Phase 1 Orthodontics. How? A child is constantly growing and changing, and just because they don’t need orthodontics now doesn’t mean they won’t need them later. Early orthodontic appointments also help Dr. Wigal determine when as well as if your child needs treatment. By perfectly timing your child’s treatment, your orthodontist will be able to achieve the most results with the least amount of effort, which is ideal for everyone.

Young boy with blue brackets

What Happens After Phase 1 Orthodontics?

After your child has completed their Phase 1 treatment, Dr. Wigal will give them about a year or so to “rest” before beginning the next phase. This will give their mouth time to develop naturally so Dr. Wigal can then evaluate and determine which treatments they may need. Phase 2 treatment can correct any issues involving the permanent teeth, which should have been decreased thanks to Phase 1. In some cases, Phase 2 treatment may not be needed if a child’s needs were completely addressed during Phase 1.

Two girls with red brackets

Things to Remember

Orthodontic treatment is much simpler, easier, and faster when a child is young and the bones of their face have not fully developed yet. With Phase 1 Orthodontics, we can stop future problems before they even start and help your child get a beautiful smile they’ll always be proud to show off.

While numerous general dentists are willing to offer traditional braces, your child should always be evaluated and treated by a fully-trained orthodontist like Dr. Timothy Wigal. He’ll be able to have a better understanding of your child’s situation, which will enable him to fully customize their treatment so they can get the maximum benefit. Also, this will ensure that their treatment is effective, comfortable, and efficient, helping them get the most results in the least amount of time..

If your child is around the age of 7 and their teeth have crowding or spacing problems, an orthodontic evaluation could be the first step to them getting the help they need. One easy appointment could make a huge difference for their smile. To schedule a FREE consultation, please contact us today.