Your smile is a big part of who you are. Everything from your confidence to how others perceive you can be affected by the state of your smile. For younger patients, orthodontic treatment can have a big impact on their appearance as they get older. For patients with more complex orthodontic issues, your smile goals may require a more complex treatment option. If your child requires a more complicated visit to the office, it may be good to consider two-phase orthodontic treatment. At Orthodontics Exclusively, we want you and your child to get exactly the results you want, especially if you choose a more complex treatment. To help you out, let’s take a look at what two-phase orthodontic treatment is and what benefits it can offer your child.
What is two-phase orthodontic treatment?
During two-phase treatment, your child will receive orthodontic treatment at two separate times with a break in between each phase. The first phase of treatment is initiated while your child still has a mix of baby and adult teeth. Then, there will be a period of rest before the second phase, usually once most or all of the adult teeth have emerged. Although braces or other appliances may be used during the first phase, this will depend on the specifics of each case. It’s more common for braces or aligners, like Invisalign, to be used in the second phase of treatment. We often recommend two-phase treatment to create a better environment for a child’s permanent teeth to grow into. This happens by:
- Creating a more optimal relationship between the teeth and jaws
- Aligning the teeth
- Positioning the teeth and jaws for a more symmetrical face
During an orthodontic examination, one of our doctors will carefully examine your child’s teeth and jaws. Our team may recommend a two-phase treatment if:
- It appears that he or she will be prone to a particular problem that we want to keep from developing (preventive treatment)
- He or she already has a developing problem that we now want to intercept (interceptive treatment)
- Your child’s jawbones may need a little bit of guidance as they grow (growth modification)
Following the patterns of childhood growth and development gives our team the best chance to correct any orthodontic issues your child may have early on. Because of this, we tend to time the first phase of orthodontic treatment to take advantage of these predictable stages of dental development. Several common dental problems can be treated easily in your growing child, but these same issues may require more invasive treatment as they age and their jawbones finish growing. Early treatment can achieve lasting results for many of these issues and may be able to lessen the impact on others. That being said, most patients will still require a second phase of treatment to complete the alignment process that begins with the first phase.
How does two-phase treatment work?
It’s important to know the details of each phase and what goes on during the resting period will help you understand how all the parts work together to improve your child’s oral health. Let’s look over the details of the treatment process.
The first phase of treatment will be initiated to help a child’s jaw develop in a way that accommodates all their permanent teeth. It can also improve the way the upper and lower jaws fit together. This method of treatment has numerous benefits, like an improved ability to bite, chew, and even digest food more effectively, as well as reducing the risk of damaged teeth due to crowding, misalignment, or malformed jaws.
This phase of treatment also contributes to your child’s longer-term dental stability, as the teeth will stay in the position we guide them to. The second phase of treatment will continue this stabilization by moving the teeth into their final positions. But before we can begin this second phase, there will be a period of time where the permanent teeth are emerging. While this is occurring, we will suspend any orthodontic treatment to give the teeth, jaws, and mouth a temporary break before proceeding.
After the first phase of treatment is finished, the rest of the permanent teeth should have a clear path to erupt. Any teeth that have been moved will be stabilized using either a space maintainer or a fixed (non-removable) retainer during the resting period.
The second phase of treatment will be initiated once all of your child’s permanent teeth have erupted. In order for phase two treatment to be successful, it will require the use of braces or clear aligner therapy. Once this orthodontic treatment is complete, fixed bonded retainers will be necessary to ensure that their newly straightened smile stays in place. If we recommend two-phase treatment for your child, there are some simple things you can do to help them achieve the results you want. This includes encouraging your child to:
- Follow our instructions for the maintenance and care of their teeth and orthodontic appliance
- Maintain a good oral hygiene routine that includes brushing at least twice a day for two minutes each time and flossing every night before bed
- Keep all scheduled appointments with your orthodontist so that our team can accurately monitor their progress
- Visit his or her regular dentist every six months for a checkup and cleaning
- Avoid any foods that can damage his or her appliance or teeth, including anything too crunchy or sticky
- Maintain a healthy, varied diet
Two-phase treatment requires a lot of attention, diligence and patience, but all this work offers great opportunities to teach your children about caring for their orthodontic health and develop productive habits!
Your best smile is waiting for you at Orthodontics Exclusively
Here at Orthodontics Exclusively, we want to be by your side no matter what kind of treatment you’re looking for. Dr. Revels, Dr. Restuccia, and Dr. Shannon are all accomplished orthodontists who are OU faculty in addition to running our practice. They have many years of experience creating beautiful smiles for patients of all ages in Norman, Oklahoma City, and the surrounding areas.
Get in touch with us today to schedule your FREE consultation.