What is the advantage of two-phase orthodontic treatment?
Two-phase orthodontic treatment is a very specialized process that encompasses straightening the teeth, as well as physical and facial changes. The major advantage of a two-phase treatment is to maximize the opportunity to accomplish the ideal healthy, functional, aesthetic result that will remain stable throughout your life.
What if I delay treatment?
By having only one phase of treatment, there can be some disadvantages. Prolonging treatment while waiting for the eruption of all the permanent teeth causes patients with a jaw discrepancy to face the possibility of a compromised result that may not be stable.
First Phase Treatment- Your foundation for a lifetime of beautiful teeth.
The goal of Phase One Treatment is to develop the jaw size in order to accommodate all of the permanent teeth and to relate the upper and lower jaws to each other. Children sometimes exhibit early signs of jaw problems as they grow and develop. An upper and lower jaw that is growing too much or not enough can be recognized at an early age. If children after the age of 6 are found to have this jaw discrepancy, they can be considered a good candidate for early orthodontic treatment.
Planning now can save your smile later
Children grow rapidly; therefore, they can benefit enormously from an early phase of orthodontic treatment. This includes utilizing appliances ( palatal expanders and braces) that direct the growth relationship of the upper and lower jaws. Thus, a good foundation can be established, providing adequate room for eruption of all permanent teeth. This early correction may prevent later removal of permanent teeth to correct overcrowding and /or surgical procedures to align the upper and lower jaws. Leaving such a condition untreated until all permanent teeth erupt could result in a jaw discrepancy too severe to achieve an ideal result with braces.
Taking records to determine your unique treatment
Orthodontic records will be necessary to determine the type of appliances to be used, the duration of treatment time, and the frequency of visits. Records consist of study models of the teeth, x-rays, and photographs.
In this phase, the remaining permanent teeth are allowed to erupt. Retaining devices are usually recommended during this period. It is necessary that you continue to see your orthodontist at this time. Periodically the retainers will need to be adjusted, so they do not interfere with tooth eruption. It is best to allow the existing permanent teeth some freedom of movement while final eruption of the teeth occurs. A successful first phase will give your child the best chance for the remaining permanent teeth to erupt into the correct position. Otherwise, they may become impacted or severely displaced.
Monitoring your teeth's progress
Unfortunately, sometimes at the end of the first phase of treatment, teeth are not in their final positions. Therefore, a second phase of treatment is necessary. Selective removal of certain primary (baby) teeth may be in the best interest of enhancing eruption during this resting phase. Therefore, periodic recall appointments for observation are necessary, usually on a four or six month basis.
Second Phase Treatment- Stay healthy and look attractive
The goal of the second phase is to make sure each tooth has an exact location in the mouth where it is in harmony with the other teeth, as well as the lips, cheeks, and tongue. When this equilibrium is established, the teeth will function together properly.
Movement & Retention
At the beginning of the first phase, orthodontic records were taken and a diagnosis and treatment plan was established. Certain types of appliances and/or braces were used in the first phase as indicated by the problem. The second phase is initiated when all permanent teeth have erupted and usually requires braces on all the teeth for an average of 12 months. Retainers are worn after this phase to ensure you retain your beautiful smile.