A child’s smile can light up a room. However, if the grin reveals overcrowding, you might experience some real concerns. Only 35% of adults have a smile in correct alignment. You can help your child beat these odds by consulting your dentist about Phase 1 early intervention.
At ChapmanSmiles Orthodontics in Happy Valley, Clackamas, Oregon, orthodontist Dr. Gary Chapman can evaluate your child’s teeth, jaw, and mouth, and let you know if Phase 1 early intervention is the right treatment for them.
Phase 1 vs. Phase 2 dentistry
The timing is a major difference between Phase 1 and Phase 2 intervention. Your dentist will begin Phase 1 treatment while your child still has baby teeth, followed by Phase 2 when your child has all of their permanent teeth.
The goal of Phase 1 treatment is to remedy problems in the early stages before they impact adult teeth. Your dentist may work to reposition your child’s teeth during Phase 1 not simply for aesthetics, but also to provide necessary space for permanent teeth to come in. Phase 2 goals include both proper function and appearance, setting your child on the path to a lifetime of good dental health.
Your dentist will typically provide Phase 1 care before your child turns 10 years old. The American Orthodontist Association suggests an initial appointment with an orthodontist when children are seven years old, offering an ideal opportunity to discuss Phase 1 early intervention. With high-quality care during Phase 1, your child may not require Phase 2 treatment.
Why your child may need early intervention
You can think of early intervention as an investment in your child’s future dental health. Phase 1 early intervention can correct common problems including:
- Excess space
- Swallowing concerns
By dealing with these issues now, your dentist can prevent extensive and costly damage to your child’s teeth and jaws in the years to come. In addition, Phase 1 treatment provides a stronger chance for successful, long-term results and may give your child a confidence boost.
The four main types of early intervention
Your dentist will discuss the most appropriate treatment plan for your child’s needs. Common methods of Phase 1 early intervention include:
- A partial set of braces only for certain teeth that need moving
- Spacers to maintain enough room for teeth yet to come in
- Retainers and headgear to keep teeth in place
- Functional and expansion appliances to correct crowding or gapping
What happens without Phase 1 treatment
Since your child will lose the baby teeth anyway, you may wonder if early intervention is worthwhile. But early intervention may prevent the need for significant, prolonged, and costly dental care for your child well into adulthood. Without Phase 1 treatment, your child could face severe tooth crowding, damage to the jaw, urgent tooth extractions, or even dental surgery.
If your worries about your child’s dental health go beyond reminders to brush and floss, consult with your dentist about potential early intervention. This early step can spare your child from significant dental issues later.
Dr. Chapman can help determine what Phase 1 early intervention plan will benefit your child most. To schedule a consultation, call 503-336-1883, or request an appointment online.