Phase I, or early interceptive treatment, is orthodontic treatment (i.e. expansion, active retainer or partial braces) that is done before all the permanent teeth have erupted, and often occurs between the ages of 7 and 11. Phase I treatment is recommended by Dr. Collin Tsai when there is a moderate or severe orthodontic problem that should not wait until later to be treated. Dr. Collin is very conservative and does not recommend Phase I treatment unless it is absolutely needed. At Esthetic Partners Dental Group, we try to wait until treatment is efficient from both a clinical and financial standpoint. If Dr. Collin recommends Phase I Treatment, it is likely that delaying treatment will result in further complications.
The goal of Phase I Treatment is to develop the child’s jaws to make room for the future eruption of permanent teeth and to improve the relationship between the upper and lower jaws. An upper or lower jaw that is growing too much or not enough can benefit from this early orthodontic treatment. This early correction can often prevent damage to the teeth, removal of permanent teeth or even jaw surgery. Leaving a severe condition untreated until all permanent teeth erupt could result in a problem too severe to correct with braces alone. The treatment time for Phase I treatment is usually 18 months. After this, our patients wear retainers and are checked every 4 to 6 months while waiting for the remaining permanent teeth to erupt.
Later, when most of the permanent teeth have erupted (usually between the ages of 12 and 13), Phase II treatment will usually be recommended for cosmetic purposes if all issues were successfully corrected in Phase I.
Potential Benefits of Phase I Treatment
• Influence jaw growth in a positive manner
• Widen the jaw to correct a crossbite while the bone is still soft
• Reduce the need to extract permanent teeth
• Reduce or eliminate the need for jaw surgery
• Lower the risk of trauma to protruded front teeth
• Correct front teeth in a crossbite that can lead to damage to the teeth and the gums
• Correct harmful oral habits (thumb sucking)
• Improve esthetics and self-esteem
• Preserve or gain space for erupting permanent teeth