Early Orthodontic Treatment

Early Orthodontic Treatment

Also called “Phase I” or “Interceptive Treatment”

Look for these orthodontic warning signs in 7 a year old or older

Is there a deep bite?

The upper front teeth cover the lower front teeth too much. More than 50% is too much.

Is there an underbite?

The upper teeth fit inside the arch of the lower teeth or line up edge to edge.

Do the upper teeth protrude?

Excessive protrusion of the upper front teeth – “buck teeth” – is by far the most common orthodontic problem.

Is there an open bite?

The child can stick his or her tongue between the upper and lower front teeth when the back teeth are together.


Do the midlines line up?

The upper front teeth and the lower front lower teeth should line up with each other and both should line up with the bridge of the nose. When they do not, the probable cause is drifted teeth or a shifted lower jaw, resulting in an improper bite. Let us explain why and present options to correct the problem.

Commonly Asked Questions

1Why is 7 years of age the optimal time for screening?
By the age of 7 most kids should have the first permanent molars(2) and the permanent incisors(4) in the both the upper and lower arches. At this time there should be 12 primary (baby) teeth and 12 adult(permanent) teeth. Your child’s “bite” has now been established and the relationship between the upper and lower teeth may be a concern. At McCranels Orthodontics we will provide a Free screening to evaluate the overbite, overjet, crowding, spacing, jaw alignment, midlines, teeth positioning, dental and skeletal relationships.
2What are the advantages of early Treatment?
  • Create room for crowded teeth
  • Preserving  space for future permanent teeth
  • Anterior or posterior cross-bites  -Reducing the need for permanent tooth removal
  • Reducing overall treatment time with braces
  • Address facial asymmetries to lessen or eliminate the long term effects
  • Reduce the RISK of trauma to protruding front teeth
  • Constricted (narrow) jaws can result from thumb sucking, which require treatment
  • Timing in regards to growth spurts in jaw growth can be a huge advantage
  • Discovering any missing or extra  teeth
3Does every child need Early Treatment (Phase I)?
No. Only certain bites will benefit from early orthodontic intervention. The majority of kids do not need early orthodontic intervention, but it takes a professional orthodontic evaluation to rule it out.
4If my Child has Phase I treatment, will they need a Phase II?
Most of the time some additional treatment will be necessary to align the remaining permanent teeth that have grown in at a later age (approx. age 12). In some cases, Phase I orthodontic treatment is the only treatment ever needed.

Phase I (interceptive treatment)

This may begin as early as 6-9 years of age. At this age, your child usually has 12 of their permanent teeth present. This treatment helps correct harmful jaw discrepancies and makes dental adjustments that are best-taken care of while the patient is growing. The treatment usually lasts for 12-18 months. Some reasons for interceptive treatment may be “buck teeth”, persistent thumb sucking habit, deficient jaw growth, early loss of baby teeth and maligned anterior teeth. It is very important to remember that Phase I treatment does not always eliminate the need for later treatment of the permanent teeth (phase II).

Phase II (definitive treatment)

Braces are used to adjust the positions of your permanent teeth to develop a proper bite and achieve the best esthetic results. This phase is usually started when their is only a few baby teeth remaining, this occurs at approximately 10-12 years of age.

If you would like to learn more about McCranels Orthodontics, please contact us at your convenience. Our friendly orthodontic professionals are eager to help you on your way to a beautiful smile!  Call us today at 561-655-6308.

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