What is the advantage of two-phase orthodontic treatment?
Two-phase orthodontic treatment is a specialized process that combines tooth straightening with physical and 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. Phase One focuses on addressing major concerns when baby teeth are present. Phase Two works solely on adult teeth. Note, that not all children will require a Phase One treatment.
The goal of Phase One treatment is to help the jaw develop in a way that will accommodate all the permanent teeth and improve the way the upper and lower jaws fit together. At the end of the first phase of treatment, teeth are not in their final positions. Phase One usually takes 6 - 15 months.
Goals of Early Treatment (Or Phase 1) include:
- Guide the growth of your child's jaw
- Correct thumb sucking and help improve minor speech problems
- Correct certain bite issues like underbite
- Make room for permanent teeth to come in properly
- Regulate the width of the upper and lower arches
- Avoid the need for permanent tooth extractions later in life
Common Orthodontic Therapies Used in Phase 1:
- Specialized retainers
- Expansion appliances
- Limited phase of braces (selected teeth)
- Space maintainers
- Functional appliances
In this phase, the remaining permanent teeth are left alone as they erupt. Selective removal of certain primary (baby) teeth may be in the best interest of enhancing eruption during this resting phase. Periodic recall appointments for observation are necessary, usually on a six-month basis.
It’s time for full braces! This phase usually involves upper and lower braces and is designed to make sure each tooth has an exact and proper location. This process involves ensuring everything works together and looks great including the lips, cheeks, tongue, and other teeth. In the end, teeth will be healthy, look great, and function properly when everything is aligned correctly.
Phase Two Goals
- Promote proper placement of teeth and jaws
- Align teeth for a beautiful smile
- Improving the teen’s facial profile by positioning the teeth and jaws just right
Remember, not all children will require a two-phase orthodontic therapy. During your child’s first visit, the orthodontist will take radiographs and determine the best route for your child’s teeth.
If the orthodontist feels that your child can wait until they have all of their permanent teeth, they won’t recommend Phase One orthodontics. Most children only need one set of braces, or just a Phase Two treatment, in their teenage years.