After your child’s orthodontic evaluation, your orthodontist may talk about something called “two-phase treatment.” If you’ve never heard this term before, you’re not alone! Many people aren’t aware of what two-phase treatment is, and as a result, find it a little intimidating.
That said, we want to assure it is nowhere near as daunting as it sounds, and it’s actually pretty straightforward. Two-phase treatment is an orthodontic procedure that completed in two separate phases. The first phase centers around straightening the teeth, and the second stage is dedicated to physical facial changes. Since we handle everything in two phases, it allows us at Bennett Orthodontics to bring not only a healthy, beautiful smile to our patients but also a long-lasting one!
Phase I begins with a process called interceptive orthodontic treatment. In this stage, we deal with those orthodontic issues that are still in their early stages to prevent them from becoming more severe issues in the future. Usually, patients are eight or nine years of age when we start interceptive treatment because their permanent teeth are still coming in during this age. This sort of treatment is needed when serious orthodontic problems can become worse over time; when treatment is delayed, it often results in crooked or misaligned teeth and jaws.
As soon as all permanent teeth have arrived, we begin Phase II. Because it is used to perfect tooth alignment, it can’t be done if baby teeth are still present.
We want to set your mind at ease about a common concern regarding two-phase treatment: two-phase treatment is not a clever way to apply two sets of braces. It also does take twice as long or incur twice the expense. We also try to avoid two-phase treatment whenever possible; however, some patients genuinely need it for long-lasting results.
Are you still a little unsure of what two-phase treatment entails and want a bit more information? Let’s go into greater detail to address any questions or concerns you may have about two-phase treatment.
When an intervention is needed prior to regular orthodontic treatment, we begin Phase I. This phase includes the use of orthodontic devices, partial braces or retainer-like devices. These devices are used for three reasons: to correct the current problem, prevent future potential problems, and adjust the child's growth and dental development.
Since Phase I treatment takes places between the ages of six and ten, patients generally still have some of their baby teeth while they are getting their permanent at the same time. Due to this, Phase I treatment is only recommended when there’s a dental development issue or a dental or jaw development problem which would considerably worsen if left untreated.
Thankfully, the majority of children do not require orthodontic treatment in this early part of their lives. To be sure about your child’s dental development, the American Association of Orthodontics and our own Dr. Bennett highly recommend children receive their first orthodontic evaluation by age seven. The most certain way to be sure your child's growth and dental development are progressing as planned is to have that early consultation with our experienced, friendly orthodontist.
So, what kind of dental issues require Phase I treatment? The most common reasons are jaw development, gum or periodontal health, tooth alignment, and crowding and spacing issues. It’s also widely recommended for the following dental issues:
- open bites (situations in which the front teeth do not contact or overlap)
- severe crowding or spacing of the teeth
- dental crossbites
- skeletal crossbites
- disproportionately overlapping or deep bites
- jaw growth or jaws that are not in proportion to each other
- severely protruding teeth
- the instance of unhealthy oral habits, such as extended thumb-sucking, bottle, or pacifier use
For some special cases, an additional treatment phase will be necessary after Phase I. While Phase I is a little longer because it is doing early intervention, Phase II is usually much shorter. Of course, anytime you treat a dental difficulty proactively, you make the issue more manageable and make them less time consuming later.
A period of rest
After Phase I, teeth are not yet in their final positions; Phase II is where they are aligned to their permanent positions. Therefore, we take a period of rest in between the two phases to let the remaining adult teeth erupt.
Once Phase I and the resting period are done, patients begin Phase II. This phase will seem a bit more familiar to most people as it pertains to installing braces on the upper and lower teeth. Since not all tooth and bite-related problems can be attended to in Phase I, your orthodontist will properly align the jaw and straighten the teeth with braces in Phase II.
During this phase, we pay extra close attention to be sure that each tooth has a dedicated, optimum place in the mouth so it can live peacefully among the lips, tongue, cheeks, and of course, other teeth. By using orthodontics, we can create this environment and teeth finally work together as they are meant to do.
Treatment isn’t over yet! Once you’ve finished your two-phase treatment, your orthodontist will recommend retainers to maintain your results. Consistently wearing your retainers as directed will hold teeth in their new, straight positions, so your smile is healthy and beautiful for years to come.
Undergoing two-phase treatment with Bennett Orthodontics
Though it’s not required for every child, for those that need it, two-phase treatment can prevent the need for more aggressive orthodontic treatment later in life. Proactive, preliminary treatment is the surest way to achieve long-lasting results.
If your child is reaching the age of seven and has not yet had his or her first orthodontic evaluation, or if you are looking for an orthodontist in the Mobile area, come visit us at our convenient office location today! We’ll get you started with a free consultation to see if your child needs two phase treatment. Our team is eager to meet you and help you get on the road to a healthy, beautiful smile.