Early Treatment

One smile can start a friendship.

We believe that the timing of your orthodontic treatment is a crucial factor impacting your treatment options, length of treatment, and most importantly your smile. Some orthodontic problems are easiest to treat if seen at a young age, such as:

  • Skeletal imbalances (narrow upper jaw, excessive overbite or underbite)
  • Shifting of the jaw when opening or closing
  • Severely crowded teeth
  • Teeth that don’t come together in a normal manner
  • Early or delayed loss of baby teeth (loss typically begins at age 5, with all permanent teeth in at age 13)
  • Habits which adversely affect the normal development of the teeth or bite (thumb-sucking after age 5, or tongue-thrusting)
  • Mouth breathing
  • Speech impediments

Because of this, the American Association of Orthodontists recommends that all children have an initial evaluation by the age of 7. This doesn’t necessarily mean that treatment will begin then, but we will be able to monitor your child’s growth and development in order to be ready to start when the time is right. In other words, early treatment is highly recommended to correct orthodontic problems that, left untreated, would lead to a more challenging or compromised condition.


Two Phase Treatment

Two-phase orthodontic treatment is a specialized process that maximizes the opportunity to obtain the ideal healthy, functional, stable, and esthetic smile for your child.

Phase I

Early interceptive treatment, or Phase I treatment, usually begins between the ages of 7 and 9. The goal of Phase I treatment is 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. This is begun when there are still baby teeth present and involves the manipulation of bone growth in the jaws that can’t be done at an older age. By initiating Phase I treatment, we can maximize the child’s growth potential and alleviate a condition that would create adverse growth if left untreated.  At Decoteau Orthodontics, Phase I treatment can:

  • Guide the growth of the jaw and incoming permanent teeth
  • Improve skeletal balance
  • Regulate the width of the upper and lower jaws
  • Gain and preserve space for permanent teeth
  • Avoid the need for extraction of permanent teeth
  • Avoid the need for surgical procedures to realign the jaws (orthognathic surgery)
  • Reduce the likelihood of impacted permanent teeth
  • Correct thumb-sucking
  • Eliminate abnormal swallowing or speech problems
  • Simplify and reduce the time of Phase II treatment (full braces)!

At the end of Phase I treatment, your teeth aren’t in their final positions. At this time, you’ll be placed on observation to allow further growth and development of permanent teeth. It’s a Resting Period, while we wait for the remaining permanent teeth to erupt. Periodic recall appointments will be scheduled so we can monitor your growth, and evaluate if a second phase of treatment is needed.

Phase II

Phase II treatment typically begins around age 11, when most of the permanent teeth have erupted. Phase II treatment usually involves full braces, and will create equilibrium and harmony of your teeth, lips, cheeks, and tongue, as well as balanced facial esthetics. Early treatment can simplify later treatment. It is the foundation for a lifetime of beautiful smiles. If you’re wondering if your child may be in need of early interceptive treatment, be sure to call for a complimentary consultation today. We look forward to caring for your child’s smile!