Early Orthodontic Treatment
Proper dental hygiene is essential for your children so that they can enjoy the healthiest smile possible. But teeth that are crooked or crowded are difficult and sometimes impossible to clean thoroughly, which puts them at risk for tooth decay and gum disease. These problems not only affect your child’s oral health, but discomfort can also make it difficult for them to play and learn properly. In addition, a healthy beautiful smile can improve your child’s self-esteem.
Planning orthodontic treatment for your child may occur in two phases:
Phase One Treatment
According to the recommendation of The American Association of Orthodontists, kids should have their first evaluation for orthodontics no later than age seven. Around this age, your child has had entered into a mixed dentition stage, with the eruption of the first permanent molar. The positioning of this tooth allows Dr. Martinez to diagnose any existing malocclusion and predict the future growth and alignment of all your child's teeth.
The goal of early treatment is to create space in your child’s mouth for all permanent teeth to erupt properly. Some moderate or severe orthodontic problems should not wait to be treated because they are much easier to fix when addressed early. Growth discrepancies, malocclusion (overbites, underbites, crossbite, etc.), and spacing problems are all issues that Dr. Martinez looks for in his evaluation. A typical Phase One treatment usually involves an orthopedic appliance and partial braces on the existing permanent teeth at the time. Phase One active treatment time is typically between 12 and 18 months.
For instance, if your child lost a baby tooth before it was ready to come out on its own, Dr. Martinez may recommend a space maintainer so that the permanent tooth has room to erupt correctly. Or, some baby teeth may need to be removed to provide the best outcome. Thumb sucking and pacifiers can both affect the shape of the jaws and alignment of your child’s teeth, so we will recommend ways to help stop the habit. Oftentimes, these habits cause undesirable jaw malformations such as a narrow palate, limiting the space for the eruption of the permanent teeth, resulting in ectopic eruptions or dental impactions.
Also, seeing your child at an early age enables us to monitor the dental and facial growth to detect, prevent and intercept any problem before it becomes severe. Even if your child is not ready to start orthodontic treatment, an early evaluation will help your child to establish a trustworthy relationship with us. We will also schedule recall appointments every six months to continue to monitor your child’s dental development until your child is ready to start treatment with us.
Some of the benefits of Phase One Treatment are:
- Correct harmful oral habits
- Improve speech development
- Reduce the risk of trauma to protruded front teeth
- Reduce the need to remove permanent teeth in the future
- Reduce the likelihood of impacted permanent teeth
- Reduce or eliminate the need for jaw surgery
- Simplify and shorten future orthodontic treatment
- Improve esthetics and self-esteem
Phase Two Treatment
Phase Two begins when most of your child’s permanent teeth have emerged during early adolescent or adolescent years. The goal is to make sure that each tooth is correctly positioned in the mouth so that they are in harmony with the surrounding teeth and will function properly together. This phase typically involves full braces on upper and lower teeth, with an average treatment time between 18 to 24 months.
Generally speaking, during Phase One Dr. Martinez will identify and intercept any orthodontic problem to prevent further issues that may affect the proper development of your child’s permanent dentition. Whereas in Phase Two we will continue improving your child’s dentition, finalizing every detail right when all permanent teeth are coming in. The two-phase approach is ideal during the pre-teen years when the children change from primary to permanent dentition (Transitional stage). Each phase takes about 18 months, with a Retention phase between them for about 12 months.
Parents should see a Phase One treatment as a way to prevent further orthodontic complications. Although many patients who undergo Phase One treatment require a Phase Two, most are improved so that Phase 2 is shorter, and some are corrected in one phase, saving you time and money. However, the cost of treatment is not only determined by undergoing one or two phases but by the case’s complexity, type of appliances needed and the length of the orthodontic treatment as a whole. You can rest assured that Dr. Martinez will make an honest recommendation based on your child’s individual dental problem. And if the condition is mild enough and can wait until most of the permanent teeth have erupted, we will start the treatment later, reducing the time your child will spend wearing braces.
Please Call for a Consultation
Would you like to learn more about Phase One and Phase Two orthodontic treatment in Miami? Please call Martinez Orthodontics today to schedule a consultation so we can evaluate your child's needs and get started!