As children develop and their teeth begin to come in, it’s not unusual to see the early signs of a problem. Yet, even though you may observe a misalignment or other malformation of the teeth, it’s inadvisable to correct the problem until the child’s permanent teeth have emerged. In these cases, two-phase treatments can begin to correct the problem earlier in development, while putting off the permanent correction until full maturity has been reached.
Two-Phase Treatments Aren’t for Everyone
The two-phase treatment is something specifically designed to treat dental issues in children. While it’s beneficial to kids, that doesn’t mean all children can undergo this type of treatment. Medical conditions or specific dental problems may make this type of treatment undesirable.
What Conditions Can Two-Phase Treatment Alleviate?
Primarily, the two-phase treatment is designed to help jaws develop normally. The procedure ensures the jaws will provide enough room for each tooth to grow properly in its place. While the need to pull permanent teeth is reduced, oral surgery may still be required later in life if the teeth still continue to grow abnormally. As an added benefit, the procedure may eliminate the child’s abnormal sucking or swallowing. Finally, the procedure seeks to correct or eliminate the pressure that may cause teeth to come in crooked, or cause an overbite to develop.
Baby Teeth May Move
While the intention of the two-phase procedure is not to help straighten baby teeth, that may be an added benefit. The purpose of the procedure is to ensure all of the permanent teeth have room to grow, but, as a result, the baby teeth may shift to make more room.
Baby Teeth Will Still Be Present
The first part of the treatment often occurs while the child still has baby teeth. Depending on the circumstances, some baby teeth may need to be removed, before a device, such as braces or a removable retainer, can be used.
Expect a Break Between Treatments
You should expect a waiting period between the time the first phase of the treatment is administered and the point at which your child can receive the second phase. This ensures the first part of the treatment has had a chance to produce the desired effects. You may need to bring your child in for evaluations and device adjustments throughout this time, so the orthodontist can determine when the child is ready for the next phase of treatment.
When Can You Expect Phase Two of Treatment?
Typically, Dr. Rick Herrmann will want to wait until all, or most, of the child’s permanent teeth have developed. This will help identify how the teeth have developed, so any additional treatment can help create a healthy bite and straight smile. If additional treatments are necessary, your orthodontist will let you know what needs to be done. The goal is to give your child a normal, fully functional set of teeth, which can require the two-phase treatment.
According to the American Association of Orthodontists (AAO), children younger than seven years of age do not need to see an orthodontist. Age seven is usually recommended as the ideal age for the child’s first orthodontist consultation. This gives the child’s teeth time to develop, which allows the orthodontist the opportunity to identify problems.
This overview has provided a general understanding of two-phase treatments. If you have questions regarding your child’s specific condition, you should consult with Dr. Rick Herrmann, your Mansfield and Arlington TX orthodontist. An examination of your child’s dental health will help you and Dr. Herrmann determine the best method of treatment for correcting your child’s teeth.