An attractive smile and improved self-image is just one of the benefits of orthodontic treatment. Alleviating and preventing physical health problems is just as important. Without treatment, orthodontic problems can lead to tooth decay, gum disease, bone loss, chewing and digestive difficulties, speech impairments, tooth loss and other dental injuries.
The goal of early interceptive or Phase I treatment is to correct moderate to severe orthodontic problems early. Some common problems that may require early treatment are crowding, excessive spacing, "buck" teeth, gummy smiles, overbites, underbites, crossbites, and openbites. When early treatment is called for, it can result in a number of benefits such as improved dental arch width, prevention of permanent teeth extraction, a reduction or elimination of the need for jaw surgery, a lower risk of trauma to "buck" teeth, and the correction of harmful oral habits. An ideal time to do Phase I treatment is usually at 8-9 years old. However, in some cases treatment may be needed as early as 5 years of age.