The early bird catches the worm, they say. In the case of interceptive orthodontics, early intervention helps address serious occlusion and spacing problems before they interfere with your child’s oral health. The American Association of Orthodontists recommends that children have their first visit with an orthodontist around age 7. This allows your family orthodontist to fully assess the development of your child’s jaw and teeth and, if necessary, recommend an aggressive treatment plan to help improve the function and appearance of their oral structures. This early approach is often called “phased orthodontics” and today, we’re taking a closer look at what you can expect from each phase of treatment.
Phase I: Interceptive Orthodontics
The interceptive phase usually takes place between ages 6 and 10, before all the permanent teeth have emerged. Using methods like expanders, active retainers, or partial braces, this phase often seeks to expand a narrow jaw in order to make room for the developing adult teeth. In addition, the interceptive phase can correct malocclusion, or problems in the way the top and bottom dental arches come together. The interceptive phase could last anywhere from 8 months to 18 months, depending on your child’s condition.
Phase II: Definitive Orthodontics
Once the permanent teeth have fully erupted, your orthodontist may recommend braces (and, in some cases, Invisalign) to complete the second phase of treatment. The goal of Phase II is to move the adult teeth into their ideal position to maximize the performance and appearance of all the teeth. Since more serious issues have already been addressed by Phase I orthodontics, Phase II treatment usually requires less time in braces, fewer or no extractions, and no headgear or rubber bands.
Your orthodontist will only recommend phased orthodontics if your child has significant problems in the development of the teeth and jaw or if it will significantly reduce the time your child will have to spend in traditional orthodontics. Although orthodontics might seem overwhelming at first, the long term benefits to your child’s oral health and self-esteem are well worth it.
About Dr. Cabal
Dr. Ciro Cabal is a dedicated family orthodontist whose lifelong passion for providing exceptional dental care continues to this day as he serves patients of all ages from Ft. Worth, Azle, Saginaw, Springtown, Weatherford, Haslet, and the surrounding communities. To schedule an appointment, call Lake Country Orthodontics today at (817) 236-7846.