What is the advantage of two-phase orthodontic treatment?
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 put off?
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.
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 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 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 digital photographs and X-rays. During your child's initial consultation, the doctor will take these records to determine if early treatment is necessary.
In this phase, the remaining permanent teeth are left alone as they erupt. 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 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. Periodic recall appointments for observation are necessary during this phase, usually on every 3-6 months.
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.
Though orthodontic records were taken at the beginning of the first phase of treatment, updated digitial pictures and X-rays are necessary for diagnosis and a new treatment plan. The second phase begins usually when all permanent teeth have erupted, and requires braces on all permanent teeth for an average of 24 months. Retainers are worn after this phase to ensure your child retains his or her beautiful smile.