Why does my son need two phases of orthodontic treatment when my niece does not? Can’t we just skip the first phase and straighten his teeth when he’s a teenager?
When children are about seven years old, they have a mixture of adult and baby teeth. Their front teeth are big and they have their permanent six year molars. The baby molars and canines, which are smaller, fill in the sides of their smiles and will still need to fall out.
Dr. Foley needs to make an educated guess regarding two phase therapy. Will letting nature take its course result in a situation that is readily fixed in adolescence? Or will a bad bite become even more difficult to treat?
For some young children, for example, gently expanding the width of their upper jaws provides more room for the larger permanent teeth as they erupt into position. Your son may have a narrow arch that is “in crossbite” and early intervention will provide great benefit. If treated only when he’s a teenager, the bony contours around his roots may not accommodate the best movement of his misaligned teeth.
Another possible reason for early intervention is if the upper and lower jaws are not in compatible positions. There are therapies that might stimulate bone growth in the lower jaw for a child with an overbite (weak chin) or in the upper jaw if an underbite (bulldog chin.)
While the second phase, which is usually a separate contract, may be briefer or less expensive due to the first phase investment, this is not always the case. Duration of therapy and cost are not the reasons Dr. Foley recommends two phase therapy. The real benefit of two phase therapy is an optimal final result that will be stable well into adulthood.
Regarding your son, this is a conversation you need to have with Dr. Foley. He will be happy to explain more fully the pros and cons of his two phase recommendation. And if you decide to wait until your son is an adolescent, Dr. Foley will do his best to achieve a great smile.