Phase 1 Orthodontics (also known as Interceptive Orthodontics) refers to early treatment and intervention for children who are beginning to lose their baby teeth. The American Association of Orthodontists recommends that children have an evaluation by an orthodontist by age 7. This is a critical time when permanent teeth begin to erupt, and disturbances in jaw growth or tooth development can easily be observed and addressed.
In the old days, children usually didn’t see an orthodontist until they were teenagers. However, as the science of orthodontics advanced and techniques improved, it became apparent that earlier intervention would be more beneficial to the growing face and jaw. In some cases, adolescence is already too late to easily correct certain types of problems with jaw alignment or malocclusion.
Phase 1 may include a brief period of partial braces, headgear, or a few months with an expander or other appliance. By treating problem and guiding jaw growth early, you can avoid more complicated and costly treatment when the child is older.
Phase 1 is followed by another orthodontic evaluation in early adolescence. If the child needs further treatment, it is continued as Phase 2.