What is Two-Phase Treatment?
Two-Phase orthodontic treatment is a very specialized process that seeks to intercept or correct developing problems at a young age. It involves two separate phases of treatment. One, an early Phase One Treatment lasting from 6 – 12 months, followed by a “resting period” of 1 – 3 years when no treatment is performed, and then a final Phase Two Treatment with full braces to align all of the teeth and provide for a final correction. This second phase of treatment usually lasts from 12 – 20 months. This two phase treatment provides a more “normal” foundation for the eruption of the permanent teeth and jaw development as the child matures. By correcting developing problems early, later more severe problems can usually be averted.
What if I put off treatment?
Not everyone needs Two-Phase Treatment. In fact, most patients only require one phase of treatment. However, if Two-Phase treatment is indicated, there are disadvantages of waiting for complete eruption of permanent teeth and having only one phase of treatment at an older age. Waiting may result in a greater likelihood of needing to remove permanent teeth. Also, if a jaw discrepancy or imbalance exists and is not corrected early while the child is growing, there is a greater chance that jaw surgery may be required later. With Phase I Treatment done while the child is still growing, orthodontic appliances can be used to modify and correct facial growth patterns so that surgery is not necessary at an older age.
Phase One Treatment: Your foundation for a lifetime of beautiful teeth
The goals of Phase One Treatment are to provide a normal jaw size to accommodate all of the permanent teeth, to correct upper and lower jaw relationships, or to correct crowding or spacing of the front teeth. Children sometimes exhibit early signs of jaw problems as they grow and develop. An upper or lower jaw that is growing too much or not enough can be recognized at an early age and the appropriate treatment performed, usually in a faster more efficient manner.
In this period, the remaining permanent teeth are allowed to erupt. Retaining devices may or may not be recommended since they can interfere with eruption of the teeth. It is best to allow the existing permanent teeth some freedom of movement while final eruption of teeth occurs. A successful first phase will have created room for 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 complimentary recall appointments for observation are necessary, usually on a six-month basis.
Phase Two Treatment: Stay healthy and look attractive
The second phase of treatment is usually started when the last of the primary (baby) teeth are being lost. The goal of this phase of treatment 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 and also provide proper lip and facial support for a beautiful smile with maximum facial esthetics. In other words, you will look great!
Movement & Retention
Teeth have a natural tendency to move throughout life, whether you have had braces or not. This is especially true for patients that had crowding of the front teeth before beginning orthodontic treatment. In order to maintain the correction you have achieved, retainers will be provided when the braces are removed. Retainers may be removable or in some instances, attached to the inside of certain teeth. Wearing your retainers as instructed by Dr. Harrison will minimize or prevent unwanted shifting of the teeth after your treatment is completed.