Having access to so much information online can be a bit of a double-edged sword, particularly when you’re searching for answers about medical, dental, or orthodontic issues. There are so many results available that it can actually be stressful trying to take it all in and decide what is accurate and what isn’t. If you’re trying to determine if, when, and what kind of orthodontic treatment your child may need, you may be feeling overwhelmed or confused.
Booth Orthodontics is here to help! We’re able to provide you with reliable information that will make it easier to understand what a long-term plan for your child’s orthodontic care could look like. If you’ve been looking for clear, concise, and trusted information from an expert orthodontic source, keep reading below!
The first step in any orthodontic journey
When it comes to ensuring a healthy, aligned smile for your child, your first step should be to schedule an orthodontic evaluation with our office. While there’s no minimum age for a child to have their first visit with us, the American Association of Orthodontists recommends that all children have an orthodontic consultation by around the age of seven. At this point, most kids will have a mix of permanent and baby teeth, and this gives us the chance to find, diagnose, and treat many common dental issues before they can cause more serious problems.
This kind of early intervention can also reduce the need for more intensive orthodontic treatment at a later age. The process can actually be summed up by the two-phase treatment that we offer. Two-phase treatment is a specialized service that is designed to be proactive rather than reactive. It is often recommended for any of our younger patients that we anticipate will need orthodontics as they grow.
Understanding two-phase orthodontic treatment
As the name implies, two-phase treatment involves a child receiving orthodontic treatment at two separate times, with a break in between. Generally, the first phase of treatment will be initiated when the child still has a mix of primary and permanent teeth. This will be followed by a period of rest before the second phase begins, usually once most or all of the adult teeth have emerged.
Two-phase treatment will often be recommended when we want to create a better environment for a child’s permanent teeth to grow into. This gives them the best start for a healthy, attractive smile that is also fully functional. We can help promote an optimal environment by:
- creating a more optimal relationship between the teeth and jaws
- aligning the teeth, resulting in a straighter smile
- positioning the teeth and jaws for more pleasing facial symmetry
During your child’s initial orthodontic examination, one of our experienced doctors will thoroughly inspect your child’s teeth and jaws. Two-phase treatment may be recommended if it appears that:
- your child will be prone to a particular problem that we want to keep from developing (preventive treatment)
- your child already has a developing problem that we now want to intercept (interceptive treatment)
- your child’s jaw bones may need a bit of guidance as they grow (growth modification)
We take care to follow the patterns of normal childhood growth and development, as this gives us the best chance to improve and correct orthodontic issues at an opportune time. There are many common problems that can be treated relatively easily in a growing child that could potentially require more invasive treatment as they age and their jaw bones stop growing. Early treatment can often achieve lasting results for many of these issues. It may even be able to lessen the impact of others! However, most patients will still require a second phase of treatment in order to complete the alignment process we begin with the first phase.
How two-phase treatment works
Knowing the basics of each phase and what goes on during the resting period can help you understand how the whole process works together to improve your child’s overall oral health.
Phase one treatment helps a child’s jaw develop in a way that can better accommodate all the permanent teeth. It can also improve the way the upper and lower jaws fit together. This method of treatment has numerous benefits, including an improved ability to bite, chew, and digest food more effectively. Phase one treatment can also reduce the risk for tooth damage due to crowding, misalignment, or malformed jaws.
Treatment in this phase contributes to longer-term stability. This means that the teeth will stay in whatever position our doctors guides them to. The second phase of treatment will continue this stabilizing process by moving the teeth into their final optimal positions. But before we can begin this, there will be a period of time where the permanent teeth are emerging. While this is occurring, it’s important for us to suspend any orthodontic treatment in order to give the teeth, jaws, and mouth a temporary break.
After we have successfully achieved the first phase of treatment, the remaining permanent teeth should have a clear path to erupt. We’ll keep teeth stable during the resting period by using either a space maintainer or a non-removable retainer.
This is the phase where everything finally begins to come together! We’ll normally initiate this phase once all of your child’s permanent teeth have erupted, and it will often require the use of traditional braces or clear aligner therapy. Once treatment is complete, we’ll generally use a fixed bonded retainer to ensure that the newly straightened teeth stay in their new and improved positions.
Creating custom smiles with Booth Orthodontics
Here at Booth Orthodontics, we don’t believe in “one size fits all” treatment plans! We know that every smile is different, and what works for one child won’t always work for one another. Our doctors will always take into account your child’s specific needs when customizing their individual treatment plans. Our team is proud to offer only the highest-quality orthodontic care to patients of all ages in Homer Glen, Orland Park, Lemont, Lockport, Palos, Frankfort and Mokena. If you have a child who is ready for their first orthodontic evaluation, get in touch with us today to schedule an appointment. This is the perfect time to take the first step towards a healthier smile for your child!