At Murray Hill Pediatric Dentistry in NYC, we are committed to a holistic picture of health for your child’s mouth, from cleanings to teen braces, and everything between. It’s never too early to keep an eye on your child’s oral development, but you don’t have to scour the city for a pediatric orthodontist to make sure all is well! Our doctors can identify malocclusion (crowded or crooked teeth) or bite problems, and actively intervene. We offer braces and orthodontics for both baby and permanent teeth.
Why Two-Phase Orthodontics?
The simplest way to understand two-phase orthodontics is to understand that an ideal occlusion involves two factors: properly aligned teeth and a properly aligned jaw.
When a bite calls for correcting both the jaw and the teeth, it is very difficult to address both problems at the same time. This is because the window of opportunity to correct one issue closes once the other opens. For this reason, two-phase treatment can be the most straightforward option for some patients. We can correct jaw issues in phase one, while your child still has their baby teeth and their bones are more pliable, and straighten the teeth in phase two, once their permanent teeth have come in.
Phase I Orthodontics
Interceptive, or phase-one, orthodontic treatment is early orthodontic care that can minimize treatment later. Beginning around age 6 or 7, our dentists monitor the development of your child’s bite and jaw as part of their routine dental examinations.
Some early orthodontic issues are much easier to correct when your child is younger because of their bones being more pliable, and because eruption pathways are easier to correct than teeth which have already erupted in the wrong space. If we identify any issues such as underbite, overbite, crossbite, or crowded teeth, we may recommend a palatal expander or partial braces to facilitate easier treatment later.
Early orthodontic treatment and a child’s growth are meant to complement each other. By timing treatment to stages of dental development, we can gently guide the growth and development of your child’s teeth and jaw with minimal intervention. While children who qualify for phase one treatment will likely still require some phase two treatment in adolescence, receiving the treatment in two phases is much easier.
What are the possible benefits of phase-one orthodontics?
- Reduction of future (possibly more invasive) dental correction
- Reduced risk of damage to erupting or protruding teeth
- Monitoring and guidance of jaw growth and tooth location to accommodate emerging permanent teeth
- Amendment of bite problems, therefore prevention of damage to the developing jaw
- Straighter teeth, which look great and are easier to keep clean
- Improvement of facial structure and chewing function
- Higher self-esteem and confidence for your child
- Cessation of habits like thumb-sucking that may disrupt development
- Correction of abnormal swallowing or speech patterns
- Overall better prognosis for how permanent teeth will develop
What should I look for?
Dr. Jackie, Dr. Kinoian and her team will always be looking for signs of trouble, but parents can keep a watchful eye too. Any of the following may be an indication that phase-one treatment can help your child.
- Early or late loss of baby teeth
- Difficulty chewing or biting food
- Mouth breathing
- Thumb- or other finger-sucking
- Crowded teeth, especially in the front
- Open bite, and/or lips not closing at rest
- Crossbite, and/or teeth coming together abnormally
- Deep bite
- Teeth protruding, especially in the front
- Missing teeth
Phase II Orthodontics
Phase-two orthodontics is typically performed once all of your child’s baby teeth are gone. This treatment is commonly done in the teen years, but many adults undergo phase-two orthodontics as well.
Phase-two treatment may also stand alone. Some patients simply aren’t good candidates for two-phase orthodontics; and of course, we see plenty of patients who would have benefitted from a two-phase approach but have aged out of the phase-one window. Not to worry, we can still help!