Many people associate orthodontic care with teenagers or young adults. But the truth is, your child should see an orthodontist by age seven to find any potential abnormalities early. If your orthodontist determines action needs to be taken, they might discuss an option known as Two-Phase Treatment with you and your child.

Our team at Whitewater Orthodontic Studio is excited to share with you all the benefits of starting treatment before your child has even lost their baby teeth!

What is Two-Phase Treatment?

True to its name, Two-Phase Treatment is the process of providing orthodontic care to patients in two phases with a break between stages. The first phase occurs when children are younger and have both baby and permanent teeth. The second phase occurs when almost most, if not all, adult teeth have grown in. This allows Dr. Leavitt to correct any orthodontic issues when they’re easiest to fix! 

Who is it for?

Two-Phase Treatment is for young patients who need preventative treatment, interceptive treatment, or guidance modification.

Preventative Treatment

Children who have early signs of a problem developing that can be stopped.

Interceptive Treatment

Children who already have an issue that we want to intercept.

Guidance Modification

Children whose jaw alignment could use some assistance as they grow, like kiddie rails at a bowling alley.

Orthodontic care for children is not solely to improve their appearance. It is to assist them in developing healthy jaw and teeth growth to avoid more exhaustive or painful dental work in the future.

What are the benefits?

Plenty of people don’t realize that orthodontic care can start before the teen years or that you don’t need all your adult teeth to begin treatment. There are many benefits to starting care early, however!

Less Invasive

Orthodontic complications are less challenging to repair in children than in adults. Their still-developing jawbone makes adjustments quicker and easier. Issues that are simple to fix in childhood might need invasive care in adulthood, such as pulling teeth, cosmetic surgery, corrective jaw surgery, or other treatments.

Jaw Alignment Correction

Two-Phase Treatment can help refine how the upper and lower jaw fit together. The lineup of the jaw is crucial because correct alignment improves your child’s ability to chew, bite, and digest. 

The teeth are the body’s first step in the digestive system. Their job is to break down food into portions small enough for the stomach and intestine to absorb nutrients efficiently. If food is too large, it can get stuck in the digestive tract, causing indigestion. A misaligned jaw can make proper chewing difficult and make eating an unpleasant experience. 

Jaw adjustment could also correct tongue posture. Incorrect tongue placement can lead to an increased risk of speed impediments and breathing issues, such as snoring or sleep apnea. 

Jaw alignment can reduce or prevent pain for your child, too, by alleviating abnormal pressure on the jawbone. An uncomfortable jaw might turn into headaches, migraines, and TMJ, a potentially painful condition caused by a jaw not functioning correctly. Jaw correction can reduce, prevent, or even eliminate this pain.

Reduced risk of damaged teeth.

Overcrowded teeth can cause many problems for growing children — making it difficult to chew, for example. Another issue caused by overcrowding is teeth rubbing together, scraping away their enamel. Enamel is the teeth’s natural shield against damage, but consistent wear can remove it. Unfortunately, once the enamel is gone, it cannot be restored. The pressure from overcrowding can also force teeth into the wrong positions and damage bone development. Proper alignment of teeth can prevent this!  

Protruding teeth are more prone to breakage and damage, but orthodontic treatment at a young age can minimize this risk.

Two-Phase Treatment can also make space for adult teeth that have not erupted yet, potentially avoiding overcrowding and making any complications that arise easier to fix in the future. It can also put a stop to oral habits that can alter tooth position, such as sucking on the thumb.

Increase in confidence!

We at Whitewater Orthodontic Studio believe that no one should feel ashamed or embarrassed of themselves before, during, or after treatment! We will always encourage your children to be self-assured and accepting of themselves and others. At the same time, we understand that it can be hard to feel good when you look or feel “different” than your peers. Jaw and teeth issues can cause difficulty breathing and speaking and a difference in appearance. Poor sleep and unclear communication might cause isolation, depression, and anxiety in younger patients. Two-Phase Treatment can give your child the confidence they need to be themselves by correcting issues early when it’s easiest.

Easier maintenance!

Crooked teeth might be challenging to floss and brush, leaving bacteria and plaque to build up. An accumulation of left-behind germs can quickly become infections or gum disease, leading to bad breath, tooth decay, and even tooth loss! 

It can be challenging for a person of any age to feel motivated to do oral hygiene when it feels impossible. Aligned teeth are easier to clean because no hard-to-reach nooks and crannies hide food and bacteria. The ability to perform hygiene without frustration could influence the development of healthy habits as they grow and prevent problems, such as cavities, in the future.

Office Whitewater Orthodontic Studios in Yelm and Tacoma, WA

Visit Whitewater Orthodontic Studio to learn more!

We know dental and orthodontic work can be scary for all patients, especially younger ones. We want to support children in developing healthy habits and give them the confidence boost they deserve! Dr. Leavitt and his team strive to create a welcoming and pleasant environment for children.

Schedule a free consultation with our experienced and enthusiastic team at one of our three convenient locations to start your child’s orthodontic journey today! We look forward to providing you and your family with the excellent care for which we are known.

Tacoma Office

Yelm Office