Two-Phase Orthodontic Treatment
The appropriate treatment at the appropriate time.
What is "Two-Phase' Orthodontic Treatment?
Two-phase orthodontic treatment consists of two separate times when a child receives orthodontic treatment. The first phase of treatment is done while the child still has many or most of their primary or "baby" teeth. A second phase takes place when the child has most or all of their permanent teeth. Braces may or may not be used during the first phase of treatment.
It's not always easy to tell when your child has an orthodontic problem. Even teeth that look straight may be hiding a problem bite, and that's why its important to take your child for that first orthodontic check-up no later than age 7.
Why does my child need two-phase treatment?
Your orthodontist believes that your child could benefit from two phases of orthodontic treatment, based on an examination of your child's mouth and study of diagnostic records. The goal of this treatment is to create a better environment for your child's permanent teeth.
A First Phase of Treatment is Initiated To:
- Prevent a problem from developing
- Intercept a developing problem
- Guide the growth of the jaw bones that support the teeth (growth modification)
Without this first phase of treatment, your orthodontist has determined that your child's problem, if left alone, will create an unhealthy environment for the growth and development of your child's teeth, gums, jaws and face. The treatment will be timed to predictable stages of dental development to provide the greatest potential for improvement and correction of your child's malocclusion (bad bite). Most patients will require a second phase of treatment often with traditional braces, to complete the tooth and jaw alignment that was started during the phase of treatment.
How Does Two-Phase Treatment Benefit My Child?
The first phase of treatment benefits patients physically, enabling them to bite or chew more effectively. It may reduce the risk of breaking front teeth that protrude. And for many patients, there is improvement in self-esteem.
The desired changes that result from the first phase of treatment may contribute to long-term stability, meaning that teeth may stay where the orthodontist has moved them. The second phase of treatment moves permanent teeth into their final positions.
Does a Child's Growth Affect Orthodontic Treatment?
Orthodontic treatment and a child's growth can complement each other. By timing orthodontic treatment to predictable stages of dental development, your orthodontist may be able to take advantage of your child's growth and development. Some problems that can be treated quite well in a growing child may require corrective surgery if treated after growth has occured.
The Goals of Two-Phase Treatment
Your orthodontist has these goals in mind for your child's treatment:
- A proper relationship of teeth and jaws so that they work correctly
- Correct alignment and positioning of the teeth and jaws, for a beautiful smile and attractive profile.
To reach these goals, your child needs to:
- Follow instructions
- Brush and floss regularly
- Keep scheduled appointments
- Visit the dentist at least every six months
- Avoid food that my damage the appliance
How do I know two-phase treatment is right for my child?
Orthodontic care is not a "one size fits all" approach. Each patient has a unique problem that requires a unique treatment plan. The diagnosis of your child's problem and the treatment plan is the result of the study of your child's mouth and diagnostic records.