What is Two-Phase Orthodontic Treatment?
Two-phase orthodontic treatment consists of two separate times when a child receives orthodontic treatment. A first phase of treatment is completed while the child still has many “baby teeth”. Braces may or may not be used during the first treatment. The second treatment takes place when the child has all of their permanent teeth.
Who Needs Two-Phase Treatment?
We believe 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. However, not everyone needs two-phase orthodontic treatment. At age six, we can typically begin to identify serious misalignment issues. These issues can include an upper or lower jaw that is growing too much or not enough. The goal of this treatment is to create a better environment for your child’s permanent teeth, build a proper relationship of teeth and jaws and correct alignment of the teeth so that they work correctly.
How Does My Child Benefit from Two-Phase Treatment?
The first phase of treatment benefits patients physically, allowing them to bite or chew more effectively. It often times can reduce the risk of breaking front teeth that protrude. A second phase of teeth moves permanent teeth into their final position, improving aesthetics.
The goal of phase one 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 jaw fit together. This phase is called the mixed definition phase, which means the child has both permanent and baby teeth. During this treatment, we correct problems such as overcrowding and functional skeletal problems with the jaw to encourage a more balanced bite.
In between the first and second phases, a rest period is observed. During this time period we wait for the remaining permanent teeth to erupt. Retaining devices may not be recommended if they would interfere with eruption.
The goal of the second phase is to make sure each tooth has an exact location inside of the mouth. This phase begins once all of the permanent teeth have erupted. It usually involves a full set of upper and lower braces. With the jaw in a better position and each permanent tooth having found its proper space, we often focus on aesthetics alone at this stage. We want to build a beautiful smile to last a lifetime.