ORTHODONTICS – Muskegon Dentist


Dr. James R. Donley in North Muskegon, Michigan has been treating his patients with orthodontics for the past thirty years. He has seen many advances in the way orthodontic care is provided, particularly when it comes to treating children. When orthodontic treatment is started earlier in life, using the two-phase treatment option, they are finding the results are more predictable and successful.

The American Association of Orthodontists (AAO) suggests children get their first orthodontic evaluation by the age 6 years old. At this age, we are able to determine if a two-phased orthodontic approach is warranted or not. We can evaluate if there appears to be concerns from thumb sucking, mouth breathing or speech issues. You can schedule a complimentary evaluation appointment for your child by calling Lumbertown Dental Wellness directly.

Phase ONE
The objective in Phase One is to evaluate and correct any skeletal deficiencies in the growing child. We look to see if there is adequate room for the tongue and for the upper and lower jaws to line up properly. If not, the teeth will not line up correctly later in life. There could be crowding along with challenges with speech and chewing. Early treatment often involves expanding the jaws and making room for the permanent teeth before they erupt. This may shorten, or in some cases completely eliminate, the need for a second phase later in life when we often see people getting braces. Expanding the jaws to make more room gives a more pleasing smile, teeth may not need to be extracted due to crowding, and we actually lower the risk for TMJ problems and sleep apnea as an adult. This phase is usually about one year in length.

Resting Period
There may be a resting period between the two phases depending upon the age treatment is started, the cooperation of the child and difficulties that may have been encountered. A successful first phase therapy will create space for the permanent teeth to erupt without complications. Retainers are frequently worn during this time to help maintain the space that was acquired. During this stage, baby teeth will often be falling out and adult teeth will be coming in. Dr. Donley will monitor what is occurring this time. This could be anywhere from several months to several years depending upon the age of the child.

Phase TWO
When most or all of the permanent teeth have erupted, an updated evaluation is made to determine if and when conventional braces or other treatment is needed. Again, we want to make sure the teeth and jaws line up properly and any teeth that are crooked or rotated are straightened. Retainers will be worn following this phase of treatment to keep things stable. Typically, a bonded retainer is used on the bottom teeth and should be left in place until at least age 35.

A lot of our patients appreciate this approach, as we may be able to avoid the need for metal braces and the additional fees may be less with this two-phase treatment. As mentioned earlier, there is also always the possibility that a second phase won’t even be needed. Many parents and patients themselves like this because there is rarely a need to remove any permanent teeth with this innovative approach. Using this progressive and streamlined approach, our patients are achieving a more pleasing smile, which translates to results that increase self-esteem and self-confidence.

For more information and to schedule your child a complimentary evaluation appointment today, please contact Dr. Donley at Lumbertown Dental Wellness today!