What is the advantage of two-phase orthodontic treatment?
Two-phase orthodontic treatment is a specialized process that combines tooth straightening and skeletal facial changes. The purpose of two-phase treatment is to maximize the opportunity to accomplish the ideal healthy, functional, and aesthetic result that will remain stable throughout your child's life and in many cases to alleviate the need for more invasive treatment options like jaw surgery or the removal of permanent teeth. Not every person will need two phase treatment so it is important for your child to be evaluated by the orthodontist by age 8 or 9 years of age.
What if treatment is put off?
Putting off treatment can result in a need for more invasive treatment like jaw surgery or permanent tooth removals later in life. Early treatment is most effective for achieving lasting results.
A Foundation for a Lifetime of Beautiful Smiles
The goal of Phase One treatment is to help the jaw develop in a way that will accommodate all of the permanent teeth and improve the way the upper and lower jaws fit together. Phase One is the "skeletal" part of treatment. Children often exhibit early signs of jaw problems as they grow and develop. An upper jaw that is growing too much or is too narrow can be recognized at an early age. If children over the age of six are found to have these types of jaw discrepancies, they are candidates for early (Phase One) orthodontic treatment. Also, if children around the age of eight have crowded front teeth, early treatment can prevent the need to extract permanent teeth later.
- Planning now can save your child's smile later
Children benefit tremendously from early-phase treatment. Receiving early treatment may prevent the removal of permanent teeth later in life, or the need for aggresive surgical procedures to realign the jaws.
- Making records to determine your child's unique treatment
Orthodontic records will be necessary to determine the type of appliances to be used, the duration of treatment time, and the frequency of visits. Records consist of models of the teeth, digital x-rays, and photographs. During your child's initial evaluation, the orthodontist will take records to determine if early treatment is necessary.
Resting Period (between Phase I and Phase II)
This is the growing phase where the remaining permanent teeth are left alone as they erupt. Retaining devices may or may not be recommended. Sometimes it is best to allow the existing permanent teeth some freedom of movement. A successful Phase One will have created room for permanent teeth to find an eruption path.
- Monitoring the teeth's progress
At the end of the first phase of treatment, teeth are not in their final positions. This will be determined and accomplished in the second phase of treatment. Selective removal of certain primary (baby) teeth may be in the best interest of enhancing eruption during this resting phase. Therefore, periodic recall appointments for observation with the orthodontist are necessary, usually on a nine month basis.
The goal of the second phase is to make sure each tooth has an exact location in the mouth where it is in harmony with the lips, cheeks, tongue, and other teeth. When this equilibrium is established, the teeth will function together properly. Phase Two usually involves full upper and lower braces. This is the "Dental" phase of treatment.
The second phase begins when all permanent teeth have erupted (usually by age 12 or 13 years), and usually requires braces on all the teeth for an average of 18-24 months. Retainers are worn after this phase to ensure your child retains his or her beautiful smile.
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