Phase 1 orthodontic treatment is sometimes used when a child has a mixed dentition (some baby teeth). This treatment usually involves placement of braces on the front teeth or an orthodontic appliance such as a headgear, tongue crib, or palatal expander.
The purpose of Phase 1 treatment is to lessen time for future orthodontic treatment and to avoid problems early. After the child completes Phase 1, he/she will sometimes be given a retainer to hold the teeth in place. The child will usually return about 6 months later to evaluate growth and determine if Phase 2 treatment is indicated.
Here are some problems to look for to determine if a child may need Phase 1 treatment or full braces:
- Excessive spacing
- Open bite (back teeth touch, front do not)
- Deep bite (excessive overlapping of the top teeth over the bottom)
- Cross bite (one side of the bite is closer to the cheek or tongue than the other side)
- Under bite (lower teeth project beyond upper)
- Overjet (excessive protrusion of the upper jaw over the lower)
- Abnormal eruption (tooth erupts in an abnormal position)