Phase I, also known as “early intervention,” refers to orthodontic treatment that occurs
before a child has all of their permanent teeth. This usually happens between ages 7 and 10.
Phase I treatment hardly ever functions as a complete replacement for braces – its purpose is to fix
problems that are most easily corrected at an early age and to make the Phase II treatment (braces)
easier. To put it simply, Phase I takes care of the initial structural (skeletal) corrections so that braces can make more refined (dental) corrections and finish the job.
Some orthodontic problems like
large over bites, severe crowding,
severely protruded front teeth, and narrow jaws are easier to correct at a younger age.
Early correction often leads to easier and more predictable treatment after all of the permanent
teeth have erupted. Early intervention can also decrease the need to extract permanent teeth in the
future, correct harmful habits like thumb-sucking, tongue-thrusting, and speech problems, reduce the
risk of tooth trauma to protruded front teeth, eliminate the need for later corrective surgery, and
reduce bullying caused by abnormally crooked teeth.
Between Phase I and II, kids may wear a retainer or
space maintainer to maintain their progress,
and should continue visiting their orthodontist so he or she can check on jaw and tooth development.
Phase II, sometimes just called “active treatment,” consists of full braces. It’s designed to finish straightening the teeth and correcting the bite once all the permanent teeth have come in.