Who Needs Phase 1 Orthodontics?
Phase 1 orthodontics is a therapy for children, and it can begin as early as age six. At Harmony Orthodontics in Tomball, TX, Dr. Wint W. Tun offers two primary options for phase 1 treatment: traditional braces or Invisalign First. Both therapies reshape the mouth to make space for 32 adult teeth to properly develop.
In today’s blog, we’ll review:
- Who needs phase 1 orthodontics
- What phase 1 accomplishes
- Treatment options for phase 1
Does your child need phase 1 orthodontics?
According to the AAO, children should have an orthodontic consultation by age seven. At this consult, the orthodontist can determine whether a child needs braces and when the braces should be applied. In many cases, orthodontists advise parents to wait until all or their child’s permanent teeth have developed before undergoing orthodontic treatment. Other times, children as young as age six may benefit from phase 1 orthodontics.
The purpose of phase 1 treatment is to ensure the mouth has sufficient room for 32 adult teeth to come in straight, while also promoting healthy occlusion. The term occlusion refers to the relationship of upper and lower teeth when the mouth is closed.
Children who need phase 1 may have a crossbite, overbite, or underbite. Children who sucked their thumb, bottle-fed, or used a pacifier past age three may have an improperly shaped palate. Those who habitually thrust their tongue against their teeth may experience improper development of the palate.
Commonly, a child’s upper palate is too narrow, which causes the need for extractions when permanent teeth develop. Phase 1 orthodontics makes space, eliminating the need for extractions. Genetics also has much to do with the shape of the jaws.
How Phase 1 Ortho Helps Kids as They Grow
Since the primary goal of phase one orthodontics is to reshape the palate to accommodate all permanent teeth, treatment usually involves wearing a palatal expander. This device is worn on the upper palate to guide bone growth and widen the palate. (Note that harmful habits like thumbsucking and tongue thrusting stop when a child wears a palatal expander.)
Bone growth occurs in the center of the palate, where the left and right maxillary bones meet.
By altering mouth shape to accommodate 32 adult teeth, phase 1 orthodontics can prevent future orthodontic problems. Ultimately, this eliminates the need for extractions and other procedures later in life. If the child needs to wear braces during the teen years, treatment time may be shorter because of the results of phase 1 therapy.
Treatment Options for Phase 1
At Harmony Orthodontics, Dr. Tun offers two options for phase 1 orthodontic treatment.
The therapy that provides the most accurate tooth movement and jaw expansion is traditional phase 1. The child wears a palatal expander and may also need spacers, in addition to wearing metal braces. A parent will need to turn a special key on the expander each night, to create appropriate pressure for jaw growth. Typically, traditional phase 1 ortho takes two years and is appropriate for children between ages six and nine.
Another option for patients with qualifying cases is Invisalign First. Like regular Invisalign, the patient wears a series of clear, removable aligners instead of affixed metal braces. Invisalign First acts as both a palatal expander and braces, expanding the width of the upper palate and repositioning teeth. Not all patients’ cases qualify for Invisalign First.
No-Cost, No-Obligation Phase 1 Orthodontic Consultation
Call Harmony Orthodontics in Tomball, TX, at 832-699-3683 to schedule your (or your child’s) complimentary orthodontic consultation with Dr. Wint Tun. After x-rays and a thorough oral exam, Dr. Tun will explain her findings and discuss treatment options, if necessary. We offer a few different options for phase 1 orthodontics and Dr. Tun will provide you with all the details during your visit.