If you’ve seen the movie Finding Nemo, you’ve seen little Darla with her headgear. You might have wondered if it was “realistic” for someone so young to have orthodontic headgear. The answer is yes! Eight-year-old Darla is one of the suitable ages for headgear.
While most young patients Dr. Yu sees at Adult & Pediatric Orthodontics do not require treatment, she still recommends bringing them in for evaluation. In fact, most orthodontists agree that children should see an orthodontist by the age of seven. You want to find potential abnormalities early! If Dr. Yu does advise care for your child, she’ll likely recommend Two-Phase Treatment.
But First, What Is Two-Phase Treatment?
As the name suggests, Two-Phase Treatment is the administering of pediatric orthodontic care in two phases with a break in-between. The first phase occurs when a child has a mixture of baby and adult teeth, and the second phase occurs later when they have grown most, if not all, of their adult teeth.
Does My Child Need Two-Phase Treatment?
Two-Phase Treatment is for young patients who need preventative or interceptive treatment or guidance modification.
Children with signs of a problem that is beginning to develop that can be stopped.
Children who already have an issue that we want to confront.
Children whose jaw alignment could use some assistance as they grow, like using a ruler to help draw a line. You could draw the line without a ruler, but it would have increased functionality and visual appeal if you had used one.
Potential issues Dr. Yu will look for are misalignment, tooth loss, spacing problems, tooth eruption, overbite, underbite, posterior bite, and anterior open or deep bites.
How Can It Help?
There are many ways that Two-Phase Treatment can benefit you and your family, such as…
Being Less Invasive
Have you heard the expression that children are like moldable clay? The saying is specifically about their minds, but pediatric orthodontists have found it true (metaphorically, of course) for their teeth and jaw, too!
It is easier to correct the still-developing bones of a child than to correct the fully-developed bones of an adult. Because orthodontic care can get complicated quickly, “simple” repairs in children are usually recommended over complex treatments for adults like pulling teeth, cosmetic surgery, corrective jaw surgery, or other invasive procedures.
Jaw Alignment Correction
A person’s jaw functionality is linked to many aspects of their life, such as chewing, communication, digestive health, biting, and more.
If your child is currently having difficulty or at risk of having difficulty chewing or biting, eating can quickly become an unpleasant experience for them. The ability to chew food small enough is crucial to the digestive process and system.
Incorrect jaw alignment can alter tongue posture, which could cause sleep apnea or other breathing issues.
Improper jaw alignment also puts abnormal stress and wear on the jaw and teeth. Relieving this pain can prevent headaches, temporomandibular joint disorders (TMJ), migraines, and neck pain.
Allowing For Easier Maintenance
Because misplaced teeth are harder to clean, your child can become easily frustrated with their oral hygiene and feel less motivated to develop healthy, consistent habits. An unclean mouth could lead to complex, expensive, and uncomfortable problems later in life. It is best to fix these issues quickly when they are younger because we don’t want them to associate dental care with negative emotions.
Enamel is the protective coating on teeth, but it’s not invincible. Once it’s gone, it’s gone! Aligned teeth have fewer hard-to-reach places, making removing bacteria, plaque, and germs that eat away at the enamel easier for your child. Weakened enamel leaves teeth more vulnerable to tooth decay, gum disease, sensitivity, infection, and physical damage.
An easier brushing and flossing routine improves your child’s attitude toward oral hygiene and promotes the development of healthy habits.
Reducing the Risk of Damaged Teeth
Overcrowded or overly spaced-out teeth (known as malocclusion) can grind and rub against each other. This friction can wear down the enamel and increase your child’s threat of cavities and other issues. Two-Phase Treatment fixes this malocclusion and creates space for incoming adult teeth to prevent further or future malocclusion.
Protruding teeth (teeth that stick out from the others) caused by natural growth or unhealthy habits like thumb-sucking are more likely to become chipped, broken, or experience injury. Two-Phase Treatment discourages unwanted oral habits and lessens the likelihood of dental trauma by aligning the teeth.
Inspiring A More Positive Self-Image
Adult & Pediatric Orthodontics will always encourage our patients to be confident and self-assured at every phase of treatment; however, we understand that dental issues can chip away at a child’s self-esteem.
They might smile, laugh, or talk less to avoid showing others their teeth or bad breath. They might also reduce mouth usage because of discomfort. Pain can also cause poor sleep, which can affect brain function and communication skills. Lack of sleep makes daily tasks challenging. This physical and emotional distress can lead to isolation, depression, and anxiety even after the dental problem is resolved due to the lasting effects of decreased self-esteem.
We urge our patients to be accepting of themselves and others, but we also understand the effect others can have on a person’s self-worth. Even if a child does not suffer from physical symptoms like pain or bad breath, feeling or looking “different” than their peers can make it challenging for a young person to appreciate themselves. Adjustments to the teeth and jaw can also alter the face’s structure and appearance, meaning Two-Phase Treatment can help your child see the star in the mirror you saw all along.
Come See Us At Adult & Pediatric Orthodontics To Discover if Two-Phase Treatment Is Right For Your Family!
The possibility of your child needing any sort of medical attention can be frightening and intimidating. However, at Adult & Pediatric Orthodontics, we believe it shouldn’t have to be!
To learn more about orthodontic care for children or to find out if your child is a candidate for Two-Phase Treatment, contact us at one of our two convenient locations! Our compassionate, experienced, and knowledgeable staff can help you begin your child’s orthodontic journey today with a free consultation!
We look forward to watching your child’s smile and mentality transform!