What is the advantage of two-phase orthodontic treatment?
Two-phase orthodontic treatment is a specialized process combining tooth straightening and physical, jaw growth development. The purpose of two-phase treatment is to maximize the opportunity to coordinate the growth of the upper and lower jaws, develop space for the permanent dentition early on and then straighten the permanent teeth once they are in. In some cases, two-phases of treatment is the best way to accomplish a healthy smile that will remain stable throughout your life.
What if I put off treatment?
Putting off treatment can result in a need for more invasive treatment later in life. It could also reduce the ability to achieve ideal treatment results. Early treatment is most effective for achieving lasting results.
Phase — One
Your 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. Children often exhibit early signs of jaw problems as they grow and develop. An upper jaw that is too narrow can be recognized at an early age. If children over the age of six are found to have this jaw discrepancy, they are great candidates for early orthodontic treatment. Also, if children around the age of 8 have crowded front teeth, early treatment can avoid the need to extract permanent teeth later.
- Planning now can save your smile later
Some children benefit tremendously from early treatment. Receiving early treatment may prevent the removal of permanent teeth later in life, or the need for surgical procedures to realign the jaws.
- Taking records to determine your unique treatment
Orthodontic records will be necessary to determine the type of appliances to be used, the length of treatment time, and the frequency of visits. Records consist of models of the teeth, X-rays, and photographs. During your child's initial consultation, your doctor will take records to determine if early treatment is necessary.
During this observation period, we keep an eye on the remaining permanent teeth as they erupt. Retainers may not be recommended if they would interfere with normal tooth eruption. It is best to allow the existing permanent teeth some freedom of movement. A successful first phase will have created room for permanent teeth to find an eruption path. Otherwise, they may become impacted or severely displaced.
- Monitoring your 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 your child's best interest to help the adult teeth find their way in. Therefore, periodic recall appointments for observation are necessary, usually on a twelve to eighteen month basis.
Phase — Two
Stay healthy and look attractive
The goal of the second phase is to make sure each tooth has erupted into the proper position in the bite, to straighten any crooked or rotated teeth and coordinate the bite so that all the teeth touch together when you bite down. When this balance is established, the teeth will function together properly. Phase two usually involves full upper and lower braces.
At the beginning of the first phase, orthodontic records were made and a diagnosis and treatment plan established. Certain types of appliances were used in the first phase to correct and realign the teeth and jaw. The second phase begins when all permanent teeth have erupted, and usually requires braces on all the teeth for an average of 18-24 months. Retainers are worn after this phase to ensure you retain your beautiful smile.