Only some children should start orthodontic treatment after their teen years. Sometimes, they need to begin care when they are younger to achieve the best results. This process is known as a two-phase treatment, and we at Backus Orthodontics are proud to offer this program to younger members of our community and give them a reason to smile! However, we’ve discovered that few people know what two-phase treatment is or its benefits. We want to change that so we can help as many kids as possible.
How Do You Know Your Child Needs Treatment?
The best, safest, quickest, and most effective way to know if your child needs treatment is to bring them to a free consultation at Backus Orthodontics! Our team will take X-rays and 3D scans of your child’s mouth so Dr. Backus can have an accurate and detailed look at their teeth and gums, including what’s under the surface. He will also consider their facial structure and jaw placement so that your child’s new smile will be flattering and the treatment route to get there is as quick and efficient as possible.
What Dr. Backus looks for during his initial assessment are things you might notice on your own. If your child’s teeth grow abnormally, such as overly spaced out, crowded together, or in odd spots, such as behind their other teeth, your child will likely need orthodontic care. Another thing Dr. Backus looks at is how your child’s upper and lower teeth align. He will probably also suggest braces if he sees an overbite, underbite, crossbite, or open bite.
There are behavioral signs you need to look out for, too. If your child complains about, has difficulty with, or feels frustration during oral hygiene, chewing, or pain in the mouth or jaw, you should bring them in for an assessment right away. Your child might need to begin two-phase treatment!
What Is Two-Phase Treatment?
Two-phase treatment is administering orthodontic care in two phases, usually with a few years break in between. Both stages perform critical functions to improve your child’s smile’s health, function, and appearance. Two-phase treatment helps orthodontists like Dr. Backus perform preventative treatment, interceptive treatment, and growth assistance. In summary, it allows them to help avoid a problem from developing, stop the development of an already present issue, and help the jaw develop correctly. More specifically:
The first phase of treatment occurs when the child is younger and has plenty of baby teeth. Its goal is to ensure the mouth has plenty of space to accommodate the incoming adult teeth and improve how the two rows of teeth align when touched together. We achieve this by aiding in the jaw’s formation. Orthodontic appliances like infamous headgear, braces, retainers, spacers, and others are possible treatment options. What your child needs depends on the severity of the issue that needs improvement.
When phase one ends, your child will be given a retainer and will continue to be periodically monitored by Dr. Backus until the second phase.
Once your child has grown most or all of their adult teeth, it will be time for them to begin the second phase of treatment! Phase two is when your child gets their full braces, which can be fixed or removable, depending on their bite adjustment needs and lifestyles. Dr. Backus will put the final touches on their jaw alignment using elastic bands or other accessories. He will also use the braces to eliminate spacing or placement issues in the teeth. Phase two can take as little as six months or up to four years, but in the end, your child will love their gorgeous new smile!
What Are The Benefits Of Early Treatment?
The American Association of Orthodontics recommends children see an orthodontist by age seven for early assessment. While there is no “best age” or “right time” to receive treatment, early treatment is often the most advantageous for those who need it.
Saves Time And Money
Roughly 1 in 4 adults are orthodontic patients. Because adults can benefit from orthodontic treatment, adult patients are constantly growing. Sometimes, though, treatment can be more straightforward for younger patients than adults. This difference in complexity is because children’s bones are still developing, making it easier to manipulate their teeth and jaw to where they should be for optimal function, aesthetics, and health.
Let’s consider Henry, a child, and Heather, his mother. Henry and Heather have the same orthodontic issue of overcrowded teeth and jaw misalignment. After an initial assessment appointment, Henry learned he could participate in two-phase treatment and receive braces to fix his bite problems. On the other hand, his mom would need a more complicated treatment program. Because her bones have solidified and have, in a way, gotten used to the layout of her mouth, it will take more time and possibly more invasive treatment options (like jaw surgery or pulling teeth) to fix the issue. Whether Heather is simply in braces for longer or needs surgery, it will be more uncomfortable and expensive to undergo than it will be for Henry to get braces.
Improved Jaw Function
Henry’s jaw does so much more than hold his teeth in place and keep his mouth shut so flies don’t get in! It is also responsible for chewing, breathing, and communicating, and the placement of his jaw and alignment of his teeth can negatively impact the function of his jaw. Issues with the upper or lower jaw can cause narrow air passageways, potentially causing a sleep disorder or mouth breathing. Misalignment can also make it difficult to chew, increasing Henry’s risk of choking and indigestion. Improper alignment also puts abnormal pressure on the teeth and jaw, wearing down the enamel and possibly creating TMD, an incurable jaw joint disorder.
Two-phase treatment can prevent, eliminate, or soothe these issues.
Easier Oral Hygiene
It’s hard enough to convince children to brush and floss twice a day every day. It’s even harder to motivate them if they find the routine challenging due to their malocclusion. They might experience pain or find it difficult to clean thoroughly, allowing bacteria and plaque to build up and create oral health issues like decay and bad breath.
Getting orthodontic treatment at a young age sets them up for lifetime oral health success by letting them form healthy habits without stress. After treatment, Henry won’t feel like oral hygiene is a chore! He will also have a decreased risk of his teeth being damaged by an injury since he will no longer have protruding front teeth, keeping him happy, healthy, and out of emergency dental appointments!
With his new aligned smile, Henry will likely feel more confident and have a higher level of self-esteem than if he had never gotten treatment. Straighter smiles are associated with confidence, good health, and kindness, making them more memorable and the people who have them more desirable. Thanks to the two-phase treatment plan, Henry will have an easier time creating platonic, romantic, and professional relationships throughout his life. Without it, Henry could have developed anxiety or depression if he felt isolated or different from his peers. Children who need but don’t get two-phase treatment might smile or talk less to avoid discomfort from or sharing their oral health issues with others. With proper care, children reduce their chances of developing insecurities from their smiles, which can have lasting effects on their mental health once produced.
Backus Orthodontics Can Provide Your Child Life-Changing Care!
Schedule a free consultation today with our excellent team to learn more about two-phase treatment and discover if your child is a candidate!
We can’t wait to be a part of this journey with you and your family. At Backus Orthodontics, they’ll receive the top-notch care they deserve. We look forward to meeting you soon!