Two-Phase Treatment

Orthodontics for Children

While there is no exact age for children to begin orthodontic treatment, the American Association of Orthodontists recommends a visit to the orthodontist around age seven.

By this age, most children have a mix of baby teeth and adult teeth, which makes it easier for an orthodontist to diagnose and correct tooth and jaw problems sooner and without surgery.

Early treatment enables an orthodontist to:

  • Correct and guide the growth of your child’s jaw to help the permanent teeth come in straight
  • Regulate the width of the upper and lower arches
  • Create more space for crowded teeth
  • Avoid the need for permanent tooth extractions later in life
  • Correct thumb sucking and help improve minor speech problems

For parents, it’s not always easy to know if your child may need orthodontic treatment.

Here are a few things to look for that may mean your child needs to see an orthodontist

  • Early or late loss of baby teeth
  • A hard time chewing or biting food
  • Mouth breathing
  • Finger or thumb sucking
  • Crowded, misplaced, or blocked teeth
  • Jaws that pop or make sounds when opening and closing
  • Teeth that come together abnormally, or do not come together at all
  • Jaws and teeth that are not proportionate to the rest of the face
  • Crowded front teeth around age seven or eight

Please contact our practice to schedule an appointment for an orthodontic evaluation. Early treatment now will give your child a healthy, beautiful smile for the future.

What is the advantage of two-phase orthodontic treatment?

Two-phase orthodontic treatment is a specialized process that combines tooth straightening and physical, facial changes. The purpose of two-phase treatment is to maximize the opportunity to accomplish the ideal healthy, functional, and aesthetic result that will remain stable throughout a patient’s life.

What if I put off treatment?

Putting off treatment can result in a need for more invasive treatment later in life that may not completely fix a person’s smile. Early treatment is most effective for achieving lasting results.

Phase One

Your foundation for a lifetime of beautiful smiles

The goal of Phase One treatment is to help the jaw develop in a way that will accommodate all the permanent teeth and improve the way the upper and lower jaws fit together. Children often exhibit early signs of jaw problems as they grow and develop. An upper jaw that is growing too much or is too narrow can be recognized at an early age.

If children over the age of six are found to have this jaw discrepancy, they are candidates for early orthodontic treatment. Also, if children around the age of eight have crowded front teeth, early treatment can prevent the need to extract permanent teeth later.

  • Planning now can save your smile later

    Children benefit tremendously from early-phase treatment. Receiving early treatment may prevent the removal of permanent teeth later in life, or the need for surgical procedures to realign the jaws.

  • Making records to determine a 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 models of the teeth, X-rays, and photographs. During your child’s initial consultation, we will take records to determine if early treatment is necessary.

Resting Period

In this phase, the remaining permanent teeth are left alone as they erupt. Retaining devices may not be recommended if they would interfere with eruption. It is best to allow the existing permanent teeth some freedom of movement. A successful first phase will have created room for permanent teeth to find an eruption path. Otherwise, they may become impacted or severely displaced.

  • Monitoring the teeth’s progress

    At the end of the first phase of treatment, teeth are not in their final positions. This will be determined and accomplished in the second phase of treatment. 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 six-month basis.

Phase Two

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 lips, cheeks, tongue, and other teeth. When this equilibrium is established, the teeth will function together properly. Phase Two usually involves full upper and lower braces.

At the beginning of the first phase, orthodontic records were made and a diagnosis and treatment plan established. Certain types of appliances were used in the first phase to correct and realign the teeth and jaw.

The second phase begins when all permanent teeth have erupted, and usually requires braces on all the teeth for an average of 24 months. Retainers are worn after this phase to ensure the patient retains a beautiful smile.