Early Treatment


What Is Early Orthodontic Treatment?  

Did you know the American Association of Orthodontists (AAO) recommends children should see an orthodontist at age 7? Having your local Chicago orthodontist assess your child’s smile before all their adult teeth have erupted will allow our team to detect any concerns early and can prevent serious oral health problems from developing. 

Early intervention (also known as Phase 1) with removable retainers or fixed expanders and even some early partial braces, can correct developing problems including crowding, excessive overjet, and underbites. Early intervention will decrease the odds of permanent teeth needing to be extracted and even help reduce the risk of fractures to the teeth in a growing child. This will ultimately reduce treatment time and cost; by the end, your child will have a healthy and beautiful smile.

Why is Phase 1 Treatment Important? 

Phase 1 treatment aims to help the jaw develop in a way that will accommodate all of the permanent teeth and improve the way the upper and lower jaws fit together. Children often exhibit early signs of jaw problems as they grow and develop. An upper jaw that is growing too much or is too narrow can be recognized at an early age. If children over six are found to have this jaw discrepancy, they are candidates for early orthodontic treatment. Also, if children have crowded front teeth, early treatment can prevent the need to extract permanent teeth later. Putting off treatment can result in a need for more invasive treatment later in life that may not completely fix your child’s smile. Early treatment is most effective for achieving lasting results.

Phase 1 vs Phase 2

Phase 1 Orthodontic Treatment

Phase 1 is an orthodontic treatment that is done before all of the permanent teeth have erupted, and often occurs between the ages of six and ten. Phase 1 treatment is recommended when there is a moderate or severe orthodontic problem that should not wait until later to be treated.

Phase 2 Orthodontic Treatment

Phase 2 treatment usually occurs a number of years later after Phase 1 treatment. Usually, we wait for the remaining permanent teeth to erupt, including the second molars, before beginning Phase 2. Phase 2 treatment entails placing braces on all permanent teeth, or using Invisalign clear aligners, to achieve the optimal final result.

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    7+ is the ideal age for the first visit