Phase 1 Growth Guidance

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Phase 1 Growth Guidance

The Phase I orthodontic treatment should happen when a child is seven years old. It is recommended by the American Association of Orthodontists. This treatment is vital because it ensures a child’s teeth and jaws are growing naturally. Sometimes all you need is the first consultation with the child’s first orthodontist. He or she will examine your kid’s teeth and jaws and determine whether they appear normal or abnormal. After that they will take the best action, which may include having the child come in two times a year until time to do the Phase 2 orthodontic treatment arrives. When deciding whether Phase 1 treatment is necessary, the doctor will reflect on the following questions?

  • If I skip this treatment Phase 1 now, will the child’s facial structure and bite be affected negatively in future?
  • If I wait and do braces later on, will the attained outcome be more supportive than if I treated with phase 1 now?
  • If I do Phase 1 treatment, will Phase 2 orthodontic treatment be faster?

The age of seven years is chosen because it is when the child’s first permanent molar teeth begin to grow. These establish their back bite and enable a dentist to check various teeth relationships: front to back and side to side. This is when teeth crowding and bad bites are noted. If screening is done at this point, a child’s chances of having a beautiful smile in future are increased. So, an orthodontist’s early intervention can:

  • Create better facial symmetry by manipulating jaw growth
  • Create room for teeth waiting to erupt
  • Solve teeth crowding problems
  • Reducing chances that teeth will be removed in future
  • Minimizing trauma to front teeth that are protruding
  • Minimize the period of wearing braces.

Normally, Phase I treatment is given using one or a blend of given dental appliances. These include the tongue crib, rapid palatal expander, space maintainer, space maintainer and facemask and so on. In all, Phase 1 orthodontic treatment is a good option when a child is embarrassed by the appearance of their teeth. As well, it is irreplaceable when there are notable jaw or teeth issues that can be solved at an early stage of life. If it’s necessary, your child’s orthodontist should ensure that you know the reasons why. The most popular reasons why Phase 1 orthodontic treatment is provided include:

  • Anterior crossbites – This is one of the most serious skeletal growth problems affecting teeth. It occurs when the top front teeth are behind the lower front teeth when a child bites its teeth together. Also known as an underbite or a class 3 growth pattern, an anterior crossbite requires early treatment that is not always surgery. If treatment is not provided early, this skeletal growth issue will worsen as the kid enters their teenage stage of development. So it’s better to have issues identified early so that those requiring surgery are tackled the soonest possible.
  • Severe crowding of teeth – Orthodontic treatment is largely sought by people who have crowding teeth and misaligned teeth. When teeth crowding affects a child, it is not always important to receive Phase 1 orthodontic treatment. It will be the orthodontist’s decision and responsibility to guide the parents, therefore. When there is severe crowding that compromises the gum structures that support the teeth or that leads to impacted teeth or serious teeth misplacement, Phase 1 treatment may be indicated. For instance, canine teeth could begin to become impacted, leading to a surgical procedure in future. Additionally, severe crowding could result to incisors and premolars that cannot enter the mouth well or upper teeth that are severely protruding. When there are severe deep bites or open bites due to crowding of teeth, Phase 1 therapy might be necessary.
  • Posterior crossbites – When biting together, the top back teeth are nearer to the tongue than the lower teeth. This can occur when the upper jaw is narrower than the lower jaw. Early treatment may be provided when the child’s lower jaw is shifting to one side, making it difficult for it to find a good bite. If not corrected posterior crossbites can cause jaw growth deviation to one side.

There are several dental and jaw issues that can be discovered when a child is 7 years of age. However, some are never addressed at this point. One of these is an excessive overjet. It refers to a situation where the upper teeth protrude forward from the lower teeth. Excessive overjet bites barely require Phase 1 treatment because they are best corrected during the child’s teenage growth spurt. By then most of their adult teeth have erupted.

However, some orthodontists might consider offering early treatment to some victims. When the risk of trauma to the lips or upper teeth is higher due to the overjet, a doctor might consider treating the child earlier than usual. If upper canines begin to cross over the roots of the adjacent incisor teeth, making them seriously off course, Phase 1 treatment is recommended. Removal of baby maxillary canines does not guarantee proper eruption of maxillary permanent canines but improves the chance. Phase 2 and surgical canine exposures may still be required. Some bad bites (malocclusions) brought about by crowding of teeth aren’t treated until a child is over 10 years. This allows a child to spend less time wearing braces and retainers as this is healthier for gums and teeth.


The rationale behind this phase of treatment is that if an orthodontist intervenes early enough, they have a bigger chance of enhancing a child’s growth and development of jaws and teeth. It is seen as a procedure that can reduce the probability that a child will need tooth extractions and/or jaw surgery in future. This treatment is essential, obviously, but it is the dental professional who determines whether a child needs it.  Being a very controversial topic in the orthodontic field, whether the Phase I orthodontic treatment in necessary can be a difficult decision to make on your own. So, have your child’s teeth and jaws examined by a qualified and trusted orthodontist first. He or she will provide recommendation and the decision is ultimately made by you.

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