Two-Phased Orthodontic Treatment

Everyone knows that orthodontic treatment can help reduce pain and prevent cavities, infections, and even tooth removals, but did you know that two-phase orthodontic treatment can make your future procedures simpler and, on some occasions, prevent orthodontic issues completely?

Child patients can avoid invasive treatment in the future by going through two phases of treatment instead of going only through one.

What Is Interceptive Orthodontic Treatment?

Interceptive treatment, also known as Two-phase orthodontic treatment, is a treatment plan that involves two stages at two different periods in a patient’s life, one at around 7 years old and the other at around 13 years old. The goal is to simplify or completely eliminate any treatment necessary in the future by discovering the existing and developing orthodontic issues at hand and intervening when possible.

Two-Phase treatment is more common and recommended than you may believe. The American Association of Orthodontists (AAO) recommends parents take their children to visit an orthodontist when they turn 7 for an examination. Here is where orthodontists will decide whether a patient needs two-phase treatment or not. Some patients will need early treatment, while others will have to wait until they are older to get any type of treatment. As with many things in healthcare, it will ultimately depend on their specific case.

Phase One

Phase one occurs while a children’s teeth and jaws are still developing. The mix of permanent and baby teeth allows the orthodontist to plan ahead to avoid and fix issues such as overcrowding and misaligned teeth. The orthodontist in charge will determine if a patient needs phase one treatment only if the procedures available have an actual impact on their mouth’s structural development.

During phase one, patients can wear regular appliances like traditional braces or more specialized orthodontics such as palatal expanders and quad-helixes. The expected treatment during phase one is shorter than the ones in phase two, with treatments lasting from 9 to 12 months.

After the treatment ends, there is a resting period for the patients. This allows the dental structures to heal before the next phase begins.

Phase Two

Phase two is where patients use the more common appliances like braces and Invisalign. Given that it starts after the end of the resting period that comes after phase one, almost all permanent teeth have developed, making the upcoming treatment time last anywhere from 12 to 20 months.

If you went through phase one treatment, the necessary treatment in phase two is much simpler than for those who didn’t. Shorting your treatment times and possibly avoiding uncomfortable surgeries. Whether you suffer from overcrowding, overbite, underbite, crooked teeth, or anything else, your orthodontist will fix it during this stage. Allowing you to finally come out of the treatment with a beautiful smile that took years to make.

Braces or Invisalign? Can Patients Carry On Two-Phased Orthodontic Treatment With Invisalign?

Yes, patients can carry two-phase orthodontic treatment with Invisalign. Fortunately for many, Invisalign technology has come a long way since its creation and is now available for kids to use even in the first stage of their interceptive treatment. The specific name for this early treatment is Invisalign first.

Before comparing braces and Invisalign together, we must remember how Invisalign works. First, orthodontists take a scan of your upper and lower set of teeth and then proceed to order a pair of clear plastic molds that fit your teeth perfectly. These molds, also called trays, apply light, constant pressure on your teeth to move them into their desired position. The patient must wear them for around 20 to 22 hours a day, only removing them to either clean or eat. Finally,  every few weeks, your orthodontist will give you a new set of trays that will push your teeth even further.

To decide between traditional braces and Invisalign, you must first ask your orthodontist if you are eligible for the clear aligners treatment. While Invisalign is able to fix a variety of orthodontic issues such as underbite, overbite, gaps in teeth, and more, there are still some severe cases that require more force than the aligners can generate.

If you are eligible, however, you will find Invisalign very attractive because of its lack of strict diet, its removable nature, and its virtually invisible look. Additionally, It is much more comfortable than regular braces, and your smile keeps its natural look. It comes at a cost; however, not only can it be more expensive than regular braces, but it also requires a high level of compliance on the side of the patient. Failure to use the appliances for the 22 recommended hours a day will result in longer treatment times.

Start the Journey for a Better Smile

If you wish to know if your child is eligible for two-phase orthodontic treatment, contact us at Sturbridge Orthodontics and schedule your appointment with us here. We are happy to help you and your family get the smile you deserve.