What is Phase I Treatment or Early Treatment?

Early Treatment typically begins around age eight. The goal of Phase I treatment is to correct the skeletal growth of the jaw, and other bite issues. It also assist in creating adequate space for permanent teeth to come in properly, and thus lessening the chance of needing permanent teeth extracted in the future due to space issues.

Some of these issues are much easier to correct when your child is younger due to the pliability of bone, and the ability of correcting the eruption pathway of teeth before they erupt in the incorrect space. As your child grows, their bone gets harder, and can be more difficult to change. Phase I treatment is all about preventing more severe problems down the road. It allows the orthodontist to control the eruption of the permanent teeth and the growth of the jaws, while the primary teeth are still in the mouth. By age seven, your child’s mouth has grown enough and has enough sound structure to know how it will develop as the permanent teeth start to emerge. We are trained to identify bite issues at an early age, and can often intervene early enough to prevent any further issues.

Benefits of Early Intervention Include:

  • Alleviating future, and possibly more invasive dental correction
  • Decreasing the risk of damage to erupting teeth
  • Correcting bite problems before they cause further damage to the developing jaw
  • The ability to improve your child’s appearance
  • Increasing self-esteem and confidence in your child
  • Correction of habits that may disrupt development, such as thumb sucking or tongue thrusting
  • Guide the growth of the jaw to accommodate emerging permanent teeth
  • Prevent the need for extractions of permanent teeth, or surgery in the future
  • Gaining space for erupting teeth
  • Correct certain habits like thumb or finger sucking
  • Eliminate abnormal swallowing or speech patterns
  • A better prognosis for how the permanent teeth will develop
  • Lowering the risk of damage to any protruding teeth
  • The ability to improve your child’s appearance
  • Creating a more pleasing and functional arrangement of teeth, lips and face

Orthodontic treatment and a child’s growth are meant to complement each other. By timing treatment to stages of dental development, we can take advantage of your child’s growth and development. Problems that can be treated in a growing child may alleviate more drastic and invasive procedures later.

What Should I Look For?

  • Early or late loss of baby teeth
  • A hard time chewing or biting food
  • Mouth breathing
  • Thumb or other finger sucking
  • Crowded teeth especially at the front
  • Open bites
  • Teeth that come together abnormally
  • Teeth that protrude
  • Lips can’t close at rest
  • Crossbites
  • Missing Teeth
  • Deep Bites
  • Protruding front teeth


If your child is between ages of seven or eight, and shows signs of needing orthodontic care, or if you have been directed by your dentist to seek an orthodontic consult, please schedule an appointment at our Request an Appointment page.