What is Phase 1 and Phase 2 treatment? How will this type of treatment help my child have the healthiest smile possible?
Phase I, or early interceptive orthodontics, is limited orthodontic treatment (i.e. expander or partial braces) before all of the permanent teeth have erupted. Such treatment can occur between the ages of six and ten. This treatment is sometimes recommended to make more space for developing teeth, correction of crossbite, overbite, underbite, or harmful oral habits. Phase II treatment is also called comprehensive treatment, because it involves full braces when all of the permanent teeth have erupted, usually between the ages of eleven and thirteen.
Two-phase orthodontic treatment is a specialized process combining teeth straightening and skeletal 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 your life.
Putting off treatment can result in a need for more invasive treatment later in life that may not completely fix your smile. Early treatment from a children’s orthodontist is most effective for achieving lasting results.
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 of 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 interceptive orthodontics. 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 your unique treatment
Orthodontic records will be necessary to determine the type of orthodontic 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, your doctor may recommend records to determine if early treatment is necessary.
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 your 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.
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 was established. Certain types of orthodontic 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 18 to 24 months. Retainers are worn after this phase to ensure you retain your beautiful smile.