Part of being a good parent is trying to anticipate both the current and future needs of your children. If you’ve ever found yourself wondering whether your child may eventually need orthodontic treatment, you’re not alone! Here at Nirenblatt Orthodontics, we often speak to parents who are trying to get a better idea of what a long-term orthodontic plan would look like for their child. We have several methods to help children achieve a healthy smile, one of which is two-phase treatment. To learn more about everything it has to offer, keep reading below!
Early orthodontic evaluations
The first step is any child’s orthodontic journey should be an orthodontic evaluation with an experienced orthodontist like Dr. Nirenblatt. We offer this initial visit at no charge in each of our three locations! While there’s no minimum age for a child to have their first orthodontic evaluation, the American Association of Orthodontists recommends all children have an examination by around the age of seven. At this point, your child is likely to have a good mix of permanent and baby teeth. This gives Dr. Nirenblatt the chance to diagnose and treat many common issues before they have the chance to become more serious.
This type of early intervention can also reduce the need for more intensive orthodontic treatment later on. The entire process can be summed up by two-phase treatment, a specialized approach that’s designed to be proactive rather than reactive. This involves a child receiving orthodontic treatment at two separate times, with a break in between. We’ll normally initiate the first phase of treatment when a child still has both primary and permanent teeth. This is followed by a period of rest before the second phase begins, usually once most or all of the adult teeth have emerged.
Understanding two-phase treatment
We’re able to use two-phase treatment to create a better environment for a child’s permanent teeth to grow into. We do this by:
- creating a more harmonious relationship between the teeth and jaws
- aligning the teeth for a straighter smile
- positioning the teeth and jaws for more pleasing facial symmetry
During your child’s initial orthodontic examination with Dr. Nirenblatt, he’ll perform a thorough examination of their teeth and jaws. If he finds any indication of the following issues, two-phase treatment may be recommended.
- Your child is 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 jawbones may need some extra guidance as they grow (growth modification)
Our team is careful to follow the normal patterns of childhood growth and development, which gives us the best chance to improve and correct orthodontic issues at the most optimal time. Many of these problems can be treated quite easily in a younger child but would require more invasive treatment as they age and their jawbones stop growing. Early treatment can often achieve lasting results for these issues and can lessen the impact of others. However, most patients will still require a second phase of treatment in order to complete the alignment process we began with the first phase.
Phase I treatment
Phase one treatment helps a child’s jaw develop to better accommodate all the permanent teeth, and can also improve the way the upper and lower jaws fit together. This method of treatment has many benefits, including an improved ability to bite, chew, and digest food more effectively. It can also reduce the risk of tooth damage due to crowding, misalignment, or malformed jaws.
Treatment in this phase begins the process of long-term stability, meaning the teeth will stay in whatever position Dr. Nirenblatt guides them to. The second phase of treatment continues this stabilization 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 happening, we will suspend orthodontic treatment in order to give the teeth, jaws, and mouth a temporary break.
Once we have successfully completed the first phase of treatment, the remaining permanent teeth should have a clear path to erupt. During this period, we’ll help keep the teeth stable by using either a space maintainer or a non-removable retainer.
Phase II treatment
This phase will generally be initiated once all of your child’s permanent teeth have fully erupted. We’ll use traditional braces or clear aligners to complete the straightening process, then provide your child with a retainer to keep their new smile in place for years to come.
Build a beautiful smile for your child with Nirenblatt Orthodontics
At Nirenblatt Orthodontics, we know your child’s smile is as unique as they are. What works for one patient may not be a good fit for another, and that’s why we build all our treatment plans around the patient’s specific needs, goals, and lifestyle. We also offer online smile exams, free consultations, and a fun atmosphere for patients of all ages!
If you have a child who’s ready for their first orthodontic visit, we’d love to meet you both. Get in touch with us today and schedule a FREE consultation for them with Dr. Nirenblatt! There’s never been a better time to take the first step towards a lifetime of healthy smiles for your child.