Your Child’s Smile: Why Early Treatment Matters

As a parent, you’re probably already aware of how important orthodontics can be to prevent problems related to a misalignment of the teeth and jaws. Orthodontic treatment can give your child straighter teeth, a beautiful smile, and better oral health, but this process can begin much earlier than you may think! 

Here at Coleman Orthodontics, we’re proud to offer interceptive or interventional treatment for younger children. This is often referred to as two-phase treatment, and it can get your child’s smile off to the best possible start! Let’s take a closer look at what’s involved in this proactive approach to treatment and how it can benefit your child’s oral health. Keep reading below to learn more! 

Early orthodontic evaluations

Did you know that the American Association of Orthodontists recommends every child have an initial orthodontic screening by the age of seven? These early evaluations give orthodontists like Dr. Coleman the chance to identify and treat any potential issues before they become more serious. This gives kids the best chance for a lifetime of healthy smiles! 

When you schedule a free consultation for your child in our Syracuse office, we’ll check their dental growth and development, and Dr. Coleman will determine the optimal time for orthodontic treatment. Not every child who receives an early evaluation will require immediate treatment! If this is true for your child, we’ll recommend monitoring their smile as they grow at no charge to you. When problems are found in a child between the ages of 6-9, two-phase treatment may be recommended.

What is two-phase treatment?

When Dr. Coleman finds an issue with the growth and development of a young child’s teeth or jaw, it’s essential to begin the proper treatment at the best time. This approach helps us create space for the appropriate development and eruption of their permanent teeth and enhances jaw growth. The result is straighter teeth, better oral health, and a more symmetrical smile! This is something we are able to accomplish with two-phase treatment. 

As the name implies, two-phase treatment involves a child receiving orthodontic treatment at two separate times, with a rest period in between. Dr. Coleman’s goal is to treat your child in the most efficient manner possible! While many children will not require immediate treatment, some issues do need to be addressed in early childhood. These typically fall into one of the following categories. 

  • Your child shows signs of 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 appear to need a bit of guidance as they grow (growth modification)

By following the typical patterns of childhood growth and development, Dr. Coleman is better able to achieve oral health and the healthiest smiles! This also gives our team the best chance to improve and correct orthodontic issues at the most opportune time. Many common dental problems can be treated easily in a growing child but may require more invasive treatment as they get older. This is especially true once the jaw bones stop growing.

We’re able to achieve lasting results for many patients with Phase 1 treatment. In some cases, it can even lessen the impact of other problems! However, most patients will still require a second phase of treatment in order to complete the process of total alignment.

Your Child's Smile: Why Early Treatment Matters

Phase 1

We use Phase 1 treatment to help a child’s jaw develop in a way that better accommodates all their permanent teeth. Phase 1 treatment comes with many benefits for growing children, including an improved ability to bite and chew. It can even help them digest their food more effectively! This treatment method can also improve the way the upper and lower jaws fit together and reduce the risk of tooth damage due to crowding, misalignment, or malformed jaws.

If your child is experiencing any of the following issues, they may respond well to Phase 1 treatment.

  • Crooked, crowded, or gapped teeth
  • Protruding teeth
  • Teeth that don’t come together correctly
  • Harmful oral habits that may affect their dental development
  • Speech problems
  • Jaw out of proportion to the rest of the head
  • Emerging permanent teeth that are being obstructed by baby teeth

Rest period

The goal of any orthodontic treatment is long-term stability. That means the teeth stay in the positions we guide them to so patients can enjoy a straighter smile for years to come! Once the first phase of treatment has been completed, the remaining permanent teeth should have a clear path to erupt. We will normally suspend any orthodontic treatment during this time to give the teeth, jaws, and mouth a break while the adult teeth are emerging. We can keep the teeth stable throughout the rest period by using either a space maintainer or a non-removable retainer.

Phase 2

Everything begins to come together during Phase 2 treatment! We’ll generally initiate this phase once all of the child’s permanent teeth have erupted. Braces or clear aligners are often used to achieve the final alignment. Once Phase 2 is complete, we’ll provide the child with a fixed bonded retainer or a removable retainer to ensure long-lasting results.

Your Child's Smile: Why Early Treatment Matters

Find your child’s best smile at Coleman Orthodontics

While early treatment isn’t necessary for many children, it can be hugely beneficial for those who do need it! Tackling your child’s orthodontic issues early on will help prevent the development of more severe problems later on, saving you time and money in the long run.

Early childhood evaluations, monitoring, and two-phase treatment can help improve your child’s tooth and jaw alignment. Treatment can also restore the tooth and bite function if needed. When you trust your child’s smile to the expert team here at Coleman Orthodontics, we’ll provide them with more stable results, increased self-confidence, and the beautiful smile they deserve!  

Do you have a young child ready for their first orthodontic evaluation? We’d love to meet you both and take a look at their dental development so far. Call or text today to schedule a FREE consultation with Dr. Coleman!