Two phase treatment creates beautiful smiles and properly functioning bites that are designed to last a lifetime.
The AAO recommends that children visit an orthodontist for the first time around their seventh birthday. While many may think this is too young, it’s actually the perfect age. At the age of seven, children will often have a mix of baby teeth and permanent teeth, allowing the orthodontist to get an idea of how the adult smile is taking shape. They will be able to identify any potential issues, and determine when the best time for intervention is.
At your child’s initial consultation, our team will use X-rays and digital photos, as well as a physical exam, to determine how your child’s baby teeth are falling out and the permanent teeth are erupting. We’ll be able to see what is happening below the surface of the gums and make sure the jaws are growing properly to be able to accommodate all of the adult teeth.
For some patients, we may recommend treatment begin soon, while for others we may take a more wait and see approach. This allows us to continue monitoring the smile and then recommend treatment at the time we believe it will have the most positive impact on the growing smile.
While orthodontic treatment can begin and be successful at any age, it is often easier when a child is younger. This is because it allows us the opportunity to guide the growth of the jaw to ensure adequate space for all of the permanent teeth. When we can do this, we can ensure a harmonious bite and straight smile.
Phase I treatment
The first phase of interventive orthodontics focuses on the jaw. There are different appliances we can use to help us guide the jaw growth, depending one what your child’s specific needs are. Our orthodontists will determine if your child would benefit most from an appliance like a palatal expander, or if early braces may be the best option.
When we have the ability to guide the growth of the jaw, we can create an environment that is ideal for the permanent teeth. We can avoid crowding and overlapping, as well as rotated or twisted teeth. Guiding the jaw allows us to correct crossbites, underbites and overbites before they cause more severe issues or more extensive work as your child grows.
When Phase I is completed, it is followed by a resting period. You will visit our office during this time so we can monitor your progress and be sure your permanent teeth are erupting properly. Then, when the time is right, we’ll begin Phase II.
Phase II treatment
Once the permanent teeth have all erupted, your child is ready for the next phase of treatment. Phase II is the straightening phase where we will guide the teeth to their ideal locations using braces or clear aligners. Patients who undergo early interventive, two phase treatment often see much shorter treatment times during this phase because we have already done the hard work of correcting the jaw growth.
When we use two phase treatment, we can divide the treatment up to focus on one thing at a time. Focusing strictly on jaw growth first allows us to ensure an ideal bite that is ready for the permanent teeth. Then, when we move to the straightening phase, it can be more efficient and effective.
Two phase treatment reduces the need for jaw surgery and extractions, but also ensures the straightening phase is less complicated. The goal of orthodontic treatment isn’t just a straight smile, but a properly-functioning bite, as well. Two-phase treatment allows us to provide the best treatment of your child at the most ideal times.