Why two-phase treatment?
Answer: To avoid the need for more invasive, more expensive, and often less effective treatment later in life, and to achieve the most functional, stable and attractive result possible.
What is it?
Two-phase treatment is a process that coordinates tooth straightening with a child’s developmental facial changes. Early intervention (Phase One) can often prevent the later need for removal of permanent teeth or corrective jaw surgery. Phase One is followed by a resting period before beginning Phase Two.
- Phase One: Jaw problems can often be caught early. Phase One treatment aims to help the jaw accommodate all the permanent teeth and to improve alignment of the upper and lower jaws. A child as young as age six with an upper jaw that is either growing too much or is too narrow is a candidate for early orthodontic treatment. Early treatment of teeth crowding problems, in particular, can prevent the need to extract permanent teeth later.
- Resting Period: A successful Phase One will have created room to allow the remaining permanent teeth to erupt. A retainer may not be used in order to give the existing permanent teeth some freedom of movement. (Otherwise, they may become impacted or severely displaced.) Sometimes the removal of certain primary (baby) teeth is needed to encourage eruption during the resting period. Therefore, occasional appointments for observation are recommended, usually on a six-month basis.
- Phase Two: The goal of Phase Two 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 both upper and lower braces.
“Shut your mouth!” can be good for children to hear:
At the beginning of Phase One, orthodontic records are made and a diagnosis and treatment plan is established. Certain types of appliances are used in the first phase to correct and realign the teeth and jaw. Phase Two begins after the resting period when all permanent teeth have erupted, and usually involves full braces for an average of 24 months. Retainers are worn after this phase to ensure stability of your new smile.