Orthodontic Treatment Phases

Early, Interceptive & Multi-phase Treatment

The American Association of Orthodontists recommends that you have your child examined as early as age seven. At that age, we can identify and correct the problems with an objective-based treatment plan. In fact, early treatment can literally improve facial features for life and save everyone involved the financial and emotional expense often associated with problems that go unchecked.

Orthodontic options have come a long way since Dr. Hannah first began making kids smile and Dr. Smith makes those advancements available to our patients today. The wires we use today are less noticeable and are made of space-age materials that exert a steady, gentle pressure on the teeth with wires that work with the body’s natural forces. Our modern approach is also faster and more comfortable – plus kids can show their own style by personalizing their braces with brightly colored ties.

The Phases of Orthodontic Treatment

Generally, orthodontic treatment takes between six and 24 months to complete. The treatment time will largely depend on the amount of correction needed, the type of dental devices used and the cooperation of the patient.

Here is a quick overview of the three major phases of treatment:

Phase 1 - Early, Interceptive Treatment

In some cases, Dr. Smith recommends early, interceptive treatment. With early treatment, he can take the least invasive approach to address any skeletal deficiencies or dental issues your child may have. Addressing these problems early helps you avoid more invasive approaches in the future. That’s why we recommend having your child in for a complimentary initial consultation around age 7.

Most children don’t actually need early treatment so Dr. Smith often recommends that you wait to get started. That’s why we’ve created something called our GROWTH & GUIDANCE PROGRAM. If your child is in this program, that means they aren’t yet ready for treatment but we’re monitoring them until the time is right. These very important appointments are scheduled every 6 to 12 months and won’t cost you a thing. They also allow Dr. Smith to determine the most ideal time to begin treatment.  Plus we do everything we can to make coming to the orthodontist something your child will look forward to with games and contests they’ll really enjoy.

Phase 2 - Finishing

While you’re never too old for braces or clear aligners (close to half of our patients are adults) most kids are treated between the ages of 11 and 15, and for good reason. By 12, most, if not all, of the permanent teeth are in place, and crooked teeth, gaps and bad bites are highly visible. We can often take advantage of the remaining growth to make the necessary orthodontic corrections to create an exceptional smile for your child.

Since many of their friends are in braces at the same time, most kids LOVE sharing the braces experience. After school visits at Anacapa Orthodontics can be lots of fun when kids see their friends from school, church or sports teams!

At Anacapa Orthodontics the options for teens and adults include Invisalign – for straight teeth without braces, clear braces – when fast, efficient treatment also needs to be discreet, lingual (hidden) braces and, of course, metal braces – with colorful elastics. So whether you want to show the world you’re in treatment or you’d prefer an option that gets the job done without all the metal, we have both the technology and the experience to make it happen.

Treatment options today are faster. Plus, they’re more comfortable and require fewer visits to our office so you can enjoy your time in treatment almost as much as you’ll enjoy having your beautiful new smile.

Phase 3 - Retention

When the teeth have been correctly aligned, it’s time to keep those pearly whites in their new and improved position. It’s time for retainers. Retainers need to be worn (usually just at night) for as long as you want to keep your smile straight and your oral health at its very best. Your comprehensive treatment includes retainers and retainer-checks for up to a year after your treatment is complete. Plus, you’ll always be allowed to come back any time, at no charge, to have your retainers checked and order new retainers in the years to come.