There are a few things in life that are okay to put off for later–a haircut, a pedicure, or an updated wardrobe come to mind. But there are other things that shouldn’t wait, and your child’s orthodontic health is one of them. At Straight Smiles Orthodontics, we recommend that everyone bring in their child early so that Dr. Rafaill can catch any problems and help prevent them in the future.
If your child is around seven years old, the time is now to schedule a free consultation appointment at one of our offices in Shelby Township, Novi, and Rochester Hills. This will help you know if it’s better to start a two-phase treatment, or if you can wait for later to get started. Don’t know what a two-phase treatment is? Well, let us dive in deeper so you will know how they can be helpful for the long-term health of your child!
What Is Two-Phase Treatment?
Two-phase treatment is when you bring in your child for evaluation at a young age and Dr. Rafaill sees problems that can be treated early to prevent bigger issues later on. Then your child will start an early treatment to support bone and jaw development, take a break for a few years, and come back later for the rest of their treatment to align their teeth and create a straight, stunning smile.
This process of doing treatment twice might seem a bit tedious at first, but it’s based on science. It’s true that it’s easier to shift and adjust a child’s bone shape and alignment when they are young and growing fast. That’s why it’s a good idea to get started early and use this growing stage to our advantage! The rest of treatment can come later on when your child’s mouth has had the chance to mature and all of their adult teeth have grown in.
Here are a few of the primary goals for two-phase treatment:
-Build a foundation of health for the teeth and jaw
-Help align teeth for a straight, beautiful smile
-And position the jaw for improved facial symmetry
Why Might My Child Benefit from Two-Phase Treatment?
Now, let’s talk a bit more about which children might need two-stage treatment. The truth is that not every child will need interventions in their bone growth in order to have a healthy smile in the future. When you come in for those early appointments, Dr. Rafaill will be able to judge whether their jaw development will cause problems later on, or even if there will be enough room in their mouth for all their teeth to grow in as expected.
If there are no signs of a problem, then your child can likely wait till their pre-teen or teen years to being orthodontic treatment. If there are signs of potential issues, however, then two-phase treatment will likely be recommended.
There are three reasons why two-phase might be necessary. One would be for preventative interventions, or when the doctor predicts problems with jaw alignment and wants to prevent issues from happening later. Another reason is when jaw problems have already begun to develop and the doctor needs to use treatments as interceptive interventions to slow down issues and realign the jaw. Finally, it is sometimes a good idea to simply have a growth modification treatment in place to ensure that all the parts of the teeth and jaw are set up to grow in the healthiest way possible.
Understanding How Each Phase Works
Now that we know more about why two-phase treatment might be necessary, let’s walk through what you can expect!
Phase one starts with the assessment and decision for treatment that we’ve described above. Then you just need to get your child their corrective devices! Depending on their needs, they may use partial braces, a retainer, spacers, rubber bands, or palatal expanders. When used as instructed by Dr. Rafaill, these devices make space in the mouth and shift the bones of the jaw in the right direction.
Be prepared to come into our office regularly for check-ups where Dr. Rafaill will monitor their progress. As soon as he deems that their smile set up to grow in a healthy way, they will remove the devices and you will enter the resting period.
The resting period is a breathing space between the two phases where your child won’t wear any devices except possibly a retainer, depending on the circumstances. It’s a period where your child is still developing quickly, losing their remaining baby teeth, and growing in all of their mature teeth. You will continue coming into our office semi-regularly throughout this period so that the doctor can determine when the right time is to start the next phase.
Phase two is where all the work from phase one comes to completion. The treatment is usually more straightforward, focusing mostly on straightening the teeth since the jaw and bite are already in great shape. Most kids are pre-teens or teens by this time and will have braces or Invisalign retainers as their treatment method. This can last from a few months to a couple of years depending.
During this phase, it’s important to help your child keep up with all maintenance practices and instructions that Dr. Rafaill recommends. Brushing and flossing daily, along with cleaning retainers, and going under and around brackets will all be necessary. Be sure to show up for all the scheduled appointments and ensure that your child is following their treatment plan to keep things from getting delayed or from having stains or tooth decay when treatment is over.
Finally, when it’s all done, your child should have a bright and healthy smile that will serve them well from now into adulthood! What an amazing gift for you to give to their future selves!
Explore Treatment Options at Straight Smiles Orthodontics
Now is as good a time as any to begin exploring your options and starting treatments. If your children are seven years old or older, go ahead and schedule a free consultation appointment so that we can get them in the office and start looking at treatment plans. Choose between our three convenient locations in Shelby Township, Novi, and Rochester Hills. We can’t wait to see you soon!