The first thing to know about Two-phase orthodontic treatment is that it is for kids, but not for all kids. Most orthodontic problems can be treated in one phase of comprehensive treatment, however, there are a few exceptions.
Two-phase orthodontic treatment is a specialized process that combines tooth straightening and physical, 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.
What if treatment is post-poned?
Putting off treatment can result in a need for more invasive treatment later in life that may not completely fix your child’s smile. Early treatment is most effective for achieving lasting results.
- May reduce the need to extract permanent teeth in the future.
- Normalize the relationship of the upper jaw to the lower jaw, especially in the case of an underbite.
- Intervene in a child’s prolonged sucking or abnormal swallowing.
- Damaging pressure can move teeth in the wrong directions and/or change the shape of bone that supports teeth.
- Tuck in upper front teeth that stick out to reduce the risk of those teeth being broken or knocked out.
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 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 this jaw discrepancy, they are candidates for early orthodontic treatment. Also, if children around the age of eight have crowded front teeth, early treatment may prevent the need to extract permanent teeth later.
After Phase One treatment is completed your child will transition to a Resting Period. In this phase, the remaining permanent teeth are left alone as they erupt. Dr. Freels will monitor your child’s progress through follow-up visits every 3-6 months. Retainers may be provided but only for a limited time as to allow for eruption of the permanent teeth. A successful first phase is not done for the sake of appearance but it will have created room for permanent teeth to find an eruption path.
At the end of the Phase One treatment, teeth are not in their final positions. This will be determined and accomplished in the second phase of treatment.
Phase Two of orthodontic treatment usually begins when most or all of the permanent teeth are in. Having completed a series of recall appointments to monitor growth, Dr. Freels will determine when a child is ready to begin the second phase of treatment.
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.