What Is “Two-Phase” Orthodontic Treatment?
Orthodontic treatments can be done in a single full-length treatment or broken into two separate treatment phases, with a resting period between the two.
Two-phase treatment is comprised of two separate times when a child receives orthodontic treatment. The first phase is done when a child is still growing and has most of their baby teeth. The second phase takes place when all of the permanent teeth have erupted.
The first phase of treatment is done around the age of 7-10 years. This is usually when all four of the permanent first molars and incisors have erupted. Children sometimes exhibit signs of jaw problems as they grow and develop. The goal of the first phase is to take advantage of the early growth spurts. This will help develop the jaw growth to gain space for permanent teeth, and to relate the upper and lower jaws to each other.
The first phase of treatment may use growth modification devices such as an expander, habit appliances (to stop thumb or finger sucking) or functional appliances (to reduce overbite). Braces may or may not be used during this phase of treatment. Phase one usually lasts from 6-18 months. Early correction may prevent later removal of permanent teeth to correct crowding and/or surgical procedures to align the upper and lower jaws.
After phase one the patient enters the recall phase. During this phase 6-month recall appointments are scheduled for observation. Periodic x-rays may also be done to monitor growth and development.
Phase two of treatment most commonly occurs at the age of 11 or 12 years, but may vary depending on the child’s development. This phase involves the placement of full braces on all the permanent teeth, which gives maximum control over tooth movement. The goal of phase two is to achieve ideal alignment and occlusion of all permanent teeth. Treatment time can range anywhere from 15-24 months.
Phase two helps to optimize treatment time when the child is growing to obtain best possible results. It also could prevent the need for extractions and/or corrective jaw surgery in the future.
To check if your child will need this type of treatment contact your orthodontist to schedule a complimentary consultation.