Stages of Treatment

Phase I Treatment

s-braces2When should children be evaluated for orthodontic treatment?

It is suggested by the American Association of Orthodontists that most children obtain an orthodontic screening by age 7. A screening by this age allows Dr. Speck to determine whether or not orthodontic treatment will be necessary and when the appropriate age for starting treatment will be.

Why should children be evaluated at such a young age?

Early treatment can guide teeth into more favorable positions, preserve space for permanent teeth, and reduce the likelihood of damaging protruding front teeth.

If early treatment proves to be viable, Dr. Speck can guide the growth of the jaw and incoming permanent teeth so-as to simplify treatment once all of the permanent teeth have erupted.

Does Phase I treatment benefit all children?

Not all children will necessarily be benefited by Phase I treatment. Some problems are more easily corrected during the adolescent years, and Dr. Speck takes a conservative approach to putting children through braces at such an early age. Dr. Speck develops a treatment plan based on each individual child's needs. If a child is not ready for orthodontic treatment when first evaluated, Dr. Speck places them on a re-observation plan which consists of checks every so often until Dr. Speck feels they are ready for treatment.

Will Phase I treatment prevent my child from needing orthodontic treatment later in life?

Phase I treatment can begin to correct significant problems, prevent more severe problems from developing, and simplify future treatment. At the end of Phase I, not all permanent teeth will have erupted, therefore, their final alignment may need further correction. Though further treatment may prove necessary, Phase I typically shortens the comprehensive orthodontic therapy (Phase II) once all the permanent teeth have erupted. In some cases, however, further orthodontic treatment may not be necessary.

Phase II Treatment

What is Phase II treatment?

Phase II treatment is also known as Comprehensive Orthodontic Therapy for those who don't undergo Phase I treatment.

Most commonly, children of ages 11 to 15 undergo orthodontic therapy because by this time, most, if not all, permanent teeth will have erupted, making any crooked teeth, bad bites, gaps etc. easily detectable.

In addition, children at this age are often easily convinced that braces are a good idea because so many of their friends at this age will also be undergoing treatment. Call our office today to set up a FREE initial examination!


Our goal is to help you have a beautiful smile for the rest of your life. For this reason, after orthodontic therapy has been completed, retainers are used to keep teeth in their new aligned positions.

What kind of retainer will be used?

There are several factors which will determine which type of retainer will be used. Typically, once orthodontic therapy has been completed, a permanent irremovable retainer will be placed behind the bottom teeth, while a removable, clear, plastic retainer is inserted onto the top arch. The other retainer type that may be necessary is called a Hawley, which is the wire and plastic retainer that has been around for ages.

How long will my retainers last?

Ideally, the two retainers initially inserted will be sufficient for the rest of the patient's life with the exception of wear and tear requiring maintenance. However, circumstances may arise where new retainers intended to move teeth may be necessary. If this is deemed necessary, our office is fully staffed with a laboratory to make any new retainers.

Permanent retainers are meant to last a lifetime, but the name actually refers to the fact that you cannot remove it – it is glued to your teeth. Your dentist may tell you that it's time to have it removed based on how clean you keep it, or if it causes any damage to the surrounding gum or bone. If this occurs, it's no problem for our office to make a removable retainer for you! A permanent retainer is also used to hold the teeth in alignment until the wisdom teeth erupt or are removed. Too little arch space or pressure from the erupting wisdom teeth can cause crowding to occur. While both Dr. Speck and your dentist will watch the development of your wisdom teeth and inform you when it is time to remove them (if necessary), the wire will help keep the front teeth straight. In this case, once the wisdom teeth are stable or gone, it may be removed.

Speck Orthodontics

  • Speck Orthodontics - 5335 Edloe Street, Houston, TX 77005 Phone: 713-668-6878 Fax: 713-668-0702

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