6 Facts About Two-Phase Orthodontic Treatment Parents Should Know
Reasons why your child’s classmate may already be in treatment
Problems that will eventually need orthodontic attention can become obvious long before a child has all of their permanent teeth. Depending on the type of problem a child has, an orthodontist may recommend two-phase treatment. This means that treatment is done at two different times, often to take advantage of predictable stages of dental development and physical growth. In most cases, working with a child’s natural growth and development at different stages will ensure positive outcomes.
Here are six things parents should know about two-phase orthodontic treatment:
1. Two-phase orthodontic treatment is for kids, but it’s not for all kids.
Most orthodontic problems can be treated in one phase of comprehensive treatment, however there are a few exceptions depending on the child’s bite, jaw growth, and alignment.
2. Two-phase orthodontic treatment can be used to:
- Help the jaws develop to ensure adequate space for all of the permanent teeth, especially the permanent canines.
- Reduce the need to pull permanent teeth in the future.
- Treat issues in a growing child that may require corrective surgery if treatment occurs after growth ends.
- Normalize the relationship of the upper jaw to the lower jaw, especially in the case of an underbite.
- Intervene in a child’s prolonged sucking or abnormal swallowing habits.
- Correct damaging pressure can move teeth in the wrong directions and/or change the shape of the bone that supports teeth.
- Tuck in upper front teeth that stick out to reduce the risk of those teeth being broken or knocked out.
3. Moving baby teeth is not done for the sake of their appearance.
While baby teeth can move during Phase One orthodontic treatment, their movement is part of the process to ensure sufficient space for permanent teeth. It is completely safe and effective to move baby teeth in many situations.
4. Phase One of a two-phase orthodontic treatment begins when a child still has some baby teeth.
If an appliance is used in Phase One care, it could be a form of braces, a fixed appliance, or a removable appliance. These appliances can be placed on baby teeth with no issues. The type of appliance used depends on the needs of the individual patient. Some children may need to have baby teeth removed to clear a path for the permanent teeth to erupt.
5. A resting period follows Phase One orthodontic treatment.
After the child completes their Phase One treatment, there is a waiting period that could last months to years for most patients as we watch their eruption and growth prior to them being ready for a second phase.
6. Phase Two of orthodontic treatment usually begins when most or all of permanent teeth are in.
The goal of Phase Two treatment is to make sure teeth are in their proper places for good function, a healthy bite, and a pleasing appearance. Give your child the best chance at a healthy, beautiful smile by following the American Association of recommendation that all children have their first check-up with an orthodontist no later than age 7. If an orthodontic problem is developing, the orthodontist will be able to monitor growth and development so that your child can have the most appropriate treatment at the most appropriate time. At Cooney Orthodontics, we cherish your time and your child’s dental health. We will never suggest a two-phase treatment unless it is necessary and valuable.