Phase 1 Pediatric Orthodontics – Palm Harbor, FL

A Necessary First Step for a Great Smile

Most children get braces between the ages of 10 and 14, but if you want to give your little one a head start on a healthy, happy smile, you should schedule their first orthodontic visit around the age of 7. At this point, Dr. Johnson can detect and treat existing issues early on while they’re still easy to deal with. Contact us today to schedule an appointment for your child, so they can achieve a great smile sooner rather than later with phase one pediatric orthodontics in Palm Harbor, FL.

Child pointing to her phase one pediatric orthodontics appliance

Why Choose Dr. Alex Johnson Orthodontics
for Phase 1 Pediatric Orthodontics?

  • Caring, Personable Orthodontic Team
  • Orthodontist with 3 Decades of Experience
  • A Holistic Approach to Orthodontic Care

What is Phase 1 Orthodontics?

Smiling child with phase one orthodontics in place

Phase 1 Orthodontics refers to orthodontic care that occurs while a child still has some baby teeth and hasn’t yet received all of their permanent teeth. Even though misaligned baby teeth will fall out eventually, it’s important to make sure that they’re properly aligned. Crooked baby teeth could make it harder for your child to eat, speak, and breathe comfortably, and they’ll affect the way the permanent teeth erupt. Correcting problems in the baby teeth means avoiding larger problems later on.

Does My Child Need Phase 1 Orthodontics?

Closeup of child's smile before phase one orthodontics

Not all children need early orthodontic intervention, but they may benefit from it if they have any of the following symptoms.

  • Crooked, crowded, gapped, or otherwise misaligned teeth.
  • The upper and lower jaw do not come together correctly.
  • Non-nutritive habits like thumb sucking that can disrupt dental development.
  • One jaw is disproportionately sized compared to the other.
  • Baby teeth that are actively obstructing the adult teeth.
  • Notable issues while speaking or chewing.

How Does Phase 1 Orthodontics Work?

Child receiving phase one orthodontics treatment

During Phase 1 orthodontics, your child may wear a special oral appliance for a short time in order to correct any issues in the baby teeth while safeguarding the development of the permanent teeth as well as the jaw. For example, sometimes your child will need to undergo a limited phase of braces on specific teeth to make sure they are in the proper position. Making these types of corrections early on can reduce the amount of orthodontic work required later in life.

Our Integrative Orthodontic Approach

Chile with integrative orthodontics smiling and holding tooth brush

Throughout your child’s orthodontic journey, Dr. Johnson will keep a close eye on more than just the position of their teeth. If he notices that your child primarily breathes through their mouth, experiences orofacial pain, or is constantly tired because of sleeping problems, he can address all of these issues using an approach called Integrative Orthodontics. This more holistic method can improve a child’s overall health in addition to giving them an attractive smile.

Learn About Our Integrative Approach

Phase 1 Orthodontics FAQs

a child undergoing Phase 1 Orthodontics in Palm Harbor

If you want to ensure your little one has the best chance of enjoying a perfectly straight smile, then you’re likely considering having them undergo Phase 1 Orthodontics. This treatment can effectively guide their pearly whites early on, allowing them to enjoy a healthier and more comfortable bite in the long run. Even so, you may have some concerns about the process before moving forward with the treatment plan. That’s why our team has collected and answered some of the most frequently asked questions we get about Phase 1 Orthodontics from our patients in Palm Harbor. Read on to learn more or reach out to our office to schedule your child’s initial consultation.

When Does Phase 1 Orthodontics Take Place?

This treatment typically begins between ages 6 and 9, which is the mixed dentition stage when children begin to lose their baby teeth. Phase 1 Orthodontics is best performed around this time due to the orthodontist being able to find and address any complications in tooth development and/or jaw growth. Furthermore, the American Association of Orthodontists even recommends kids get checkups with an orthodontist around 7 years old, especially since these kinds of issues are easier to treat during this age. Permanent molars typically begin coming in at this time, which will establish the rear bite and help an orthodontist determine the shape of the smile moving forward.

What Issues Can Phase 1 Orthodontics Address?

This orthodontic process can effectively help treat a variety of jaw and tooth issues during early development. Tooth problems that can be addressed include severe crowding, major spacing between teeth, protruding teeth, and early/late loss of primary teeth. Interceptive orthodontics can also treat jaw complications like underbites, overbites, crossbites, and open bites. With orthodontic treatment, your child’s dentist can help create space in their mouth to guide the permanent teeth to develop and erupt into proper alignment.

What Appliances Are Used in Phase 1 Orthodontics?

Since Phase 1 Orthodontics isn’t as complicated as other treatment processes, the appliances used will be simpler as well. An overcrowded smile can usually be addressed with a palate expander, which is designed to widen the space in the upper jaw. For children who lose baby teeth too early, we can use space maintainers to keep the gaps so that the permanent teeth can come in properly. Any braces your child may need will likely only be for select teeth, as their jaw and other pearly whites are still developing. After Phase 1 Orthodontics, your little one will need to wear a retainer to allow the rest of their teeth to erupt properly.

How Long Does Phase 1 Orthodontic Treatment Last?

Generally speaking, Phase 1 Orthodontics can go as long as 9-12 months. The timeframe will depend on the patient’s unique dental needs and situation, including the complexity of their orthodontic issues, the technology used, and their treatment compliance. The only way to know exactly how long your little one will need to use an appliance is by consulting their orthodontist. They’ll assess your child’s smile and provide a more accurate time estimate. Once their initial process is over, your child might require wearing a retainer for some time until they’re prepared for more comprehensive treatment.