What is Two Phase Treatment?
Two-phase orthodontic treatment consists of two separate times when a child receives orthodontic treatment.
A first phase of treatment (Phase I) usually occurs when the patient still has many of their primary teeth or “baby” teeth. A second phase (Phase II) takes place when the patient has most or all of their permanent teeth. Braces or other appliances may be used during the first phase of treatment.
Why does my child need two-phase treatment?
After Dr. Hoffman has performed his initial exam, reviewed diagnostic records and x-rays, he may determine that a patient would benefit from a two-phase orthodontic treatment. The goal of Phase I treatment is to create a better environment for your child’s permanent teeth. A first phase of treatment is recommended to:
- Prevent a problem from developing (preventative treatment)
- Intercept a developing problem (interceptive treatment)]
- Guide the growth of the jaw bones that support the teeth (growth modification)
- Eliminate a harmful habit deleterious to proper tooth eruption or growth and development (tongue thrust, digit sucking)
Braces or other appliances (i.e. palatal expander, etc.) may be used during the first phase (Phase I) of treatment. The second phase of treatment (Phase II) moves permanent teeth into their final positions. For most patients this is done with traditional braces in order to complete the tooth and jaw alignment that was started during the first phase of treatment. If two-phase treatment is recommended but ignored, it may create an unhealthy environment for the growth and development of the child’s teeth, gums, jaws and face.
What are the signs my child may need two-phase orthodontic treatment?
The American Association of Orthodontists recommends that no matter how young your child is, if you notice any of the early indicators of possible problems, he or she should have an orthodontic check-up right away. And the American Association of Orthodontists recommends that every child should have an orthodontic check-up no later than age 7.
Early indicators of possible problems:
- Early or late loss of baby teeth (your child should typically start losing teeth around age five-six, and will have most or all their permanent teeth in around age 13)
- Difficulty chewing and/or biting
- Mouth breathing
- Your child continues sucking their thumb after age five
- Speech impediments
- Protruding teeth (the top teeth and the bottom teeth extend away from each other)
- Teeth that don’t come together in a normal manner or even at all
- Shifting of the jaw when your child opens or closes their mouth (cross bites)
- Crowded front teeth around age seven or eight.
One Phase Treatment
The most common age for beginning a One Phase of orthodontic treatment is between the ages of 11 and 15. By 12 years of age, most, if not all of the permanent teeth have erupted and are in place. This is also the time when patients of this age are going through their major growth stage of development, which is quite useful for correcting certain malocclusions. Crowded teeth, spaces between the teeth, and bad bites can easily be detected at this stage. These malocclusions rarely ever correct themselves, so this is when many parents, dentists, and pediatric dentists decide orthodontic treatment is appropriate.
Early adolescence is a good time for orthodontic treatment because many other children at this age are undergoing orthodontic treatment. Children are very often amenable to wearing braces because they see their friends and peers wearing them too and is socially acceptable. Besides the benefits of fitting in with their friends, children at this age are growing rapidly. Orthodontists can utilize these growth spurts to help correct some skeletal malocclusions.
Patients who have undergone Two Phase or One Phase orthodontic treatment are likely to have lasting beneficial results. The goal for orthodontic treatment is to give you correctly aligned teeth that provide ideal jaw function and a great smile that you can be proud of.