What is a two-phase orthodontic treatment?
Two-phase orthodontic treatment is a specialized process combining tooth straightening and physical, facial changes. The purpose of two-phase treatment is to maximize the opportunity to accomplish the ideal healthy, functional and esthetic result that will remain stable throughout your life. Doing Phase I- Early Treatment will often create space to avoid extractions, correct skeletal problems to avoid surgery in the future, and is done to provide a better overall outcome and stable result.
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 your smile. Early treatment is most effective for achieving lasting results.
Phase I – Early Treatment
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 seven are found to have this jaw discrepancy, they are candidates for early orthodontic treatment.
- When should my child see an orthodontist?
This is a question most frequently asked by parents. The American Association of Orthodontists and Dr. Virginia Bocage recommend that all children have a check-up by an orthodontist by the age of 7. At this early age, orthodontic intervention may not be necessary, but Dr. Bocage can carefully monitor growth and development and recommend treatment when it is ideal.
- Why age is 7 considered the optimal time for screening?
By this age, the first adult molars have erupted establishing the back bite, and the front teeth (incisors) are erupting. Dr. Bocage can evaluate front-to-back and side-to-side tooth relationships during this time. An upper or lower jaw that is growing too much or not enough can be recognized at this age. A panoramic x-ray may be taken to see the other permanent teeth that have not yet erupted to discuss the likeliness of future crowding. Any missing permanent teeth and oral pathologies may be discovered from the radiograph as well.
- Why should malocclusions be treated early?
According to studies by the American Association of Orthodontists, untreated malocclusions can result in a variety of problems. Crowded teeth are more difficult to properly brush and floss, which may contribute to tooth decay and/or gum disease. Protruding teeth are more susceptible to accidental chipping. Crossbites can result in unfavorable growth and uneven tooth wear. Openbites can result in tongue-thrusting habits and speech impediments. Ultimately, orthodontics does more than make a pretty smile—it creates a healthier you. In many cases, positive orthodontic results can be achieved which would not otherwise be possible once the face and jaws have finished growing.
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. 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
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 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. At this point, we will put braces on all the teeth or you can have Invisalign Teen®. Treatment is usually on average 12 months. Retainers are worn after this phase to ensure you retain your beautiful smile.