ALPHARETTA, GA – Some parents start worrying about their child’s smile before the first tooth even breaks through the gum line. It might be that they needed braces and they are anxious to find out if their crowded mouth or crooked teeth have been passed down to their children. Maybe they even had braces for adults and want to help their children avoid navigating adult life and a career while also dealing with braces. The way insurance coverage seems to change every year, it may also be that they are wondering if they should start a college fund or a braces fund.
One way that parents are trying to reduce long-term orthodontic costs is by being proactive with a process known as two-phase orthodontic treatment. This dental treatment is typically started when a child is about 7 years old, depending on the size and shape of their jaw, as well as the placement of their existing teeth. If you wait past this time, your child might be a candidate in Johns Creek for Invisalign Teen, a transparent alternative to traditional braces.
The goal of phase one is to allow the upper and lower jaw to develop in such a way as to allow space for all of the permanent teeth that are beginning to come in. Done properly, phase one treatment can eliminate the need for removing teeth in a number of cases. Dr. Nima Hajibaik explains that, “a number of jaw size discrepancies can be corrected during phase I and this is because the jaw bones are not completely mature. Their size and shape can be changed. If we wait for complete skeletal maturation we would lose the ability to correct these problems.”
Of course, each mouth is different and a board-certified orthodontist like Dr. Nima is well-equipped to guide you through this phase.
As the two-phase orthodontic treatment is occurring, regular dental care should continue. This means scheduling cleanings as necessary with your regular dentist. In between phase one and two, the mouth is considered to be in a “resting” stage, while your orthodontist waits for the rest of your permanent teeth to grow into place. Ideally, phase one will have been successful enough that there is a spot for each tooth.
Once the permanent teeth are in, phase two begins. In many cases, braces will be necessary to direct these teeth to the best possible location based upon both function and aesthetics. The average time in braces is about 24 months, with lifelong retainer use needed after the removal of the braces. This phase is what people normally think of when discussing braces.
Overall, the purpose of two-phase orthodontic care is to reduce the amount of corrective work needed in a child’s mouth before braces are necessary. By opting for a two-phase treatment, parents can reduce the chance that teeth need to be pulled, thereby reducing the stress on their child. Dr. Nima says, “Early treatment for children provides the best orthodontic results later in life. Children which undergo Phase One orthodontic treatment have better results when they complete Phase Two treatment and braces.”
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