Early Orthodontic Treatment (Phase I/Phase II)

Early Orthodontic TreatmentThe goal of early orthodontic treatment is to correct existing or developing skeletal, dental, and muscular imbalances to improve the environment before the eruption of the permanent dentition is complete. In theory, the need for complex treatment involving extraction or surgery is minimized.

Usually the best time for orthodontic treatment is during the growth spurt, which in females is between 10-10.5 years of age, and in males between 11-11.5 years of age. With all the hormonal changes during this stage of development we can efficiently move teeth and use our orthodontic mechanics to help guide growth.

The American Association of Orthodontics recommends all children be seen for orthodontic evaluation by age 7. Our office tends to be more conservative in application of early treatment. We will intervene if there is some type of underlying skeletal problem. This can include palatal expansion, space maintenance, selective extractions, and functional appliances such as Herbst appliances.

Usually the duration of Phase I / Phase II treatment is very limited. Phase I should last no longer than 6-12 months. We will then watch your child grow up until they are ready for comprehensive orthodontic treatment.

Sometimes Phase I treatment can make Phase II treatment easier, reduce the need for extractions, and in some cases eliminate the need for surgery.


Denise F
Jun 29, 2014


I would highly recommend Dr. Engen and his office staff to anyone whose child was apprehensive about having braces. Other than the high level of professionalism, I appreciate the down-play of cutsie-pie gimmicks for kids. He thoroughly explained everything to us right from the start.

Lyle B. (Periodontal patient)
Jun 29, 2014


State of the art care! I like the “get it right” attitude. After eight years I have not had one negative experience.