Is Two-Phase Treatment Really Necessary?

Is Two-Phase Treatment Really Necessary?
Posted on 06/08/2015

The American Association of Orthodontists recommends that children have their first orthodontic screening by the age of 7. The team here at Lennard Orthodontics, your leading San Jose, CA orthodontist office supports this recommendation being fully aware that some orthodontic problems are best treated in two phases. In fact, remarkable results can be achieved with two-phase treatment when it's done at the appropriate time and when necessary.

What Exactly is Two-Phase Treatment?

Two-phase orthodontic treatment is a specialized process that encompasses tooth straightening and physical, facial changes by encouraging natural, positive growth changes in the jaw positions. This treatment is used exclusively in growing children prior to the age when all their permanent teeth have fully erupted. The main advantage to two-phase treatment when necessary is to maximize the opportunity to accomplish the ideal functional, aesthetic result that will remain stable throughout a child's life to provide him or her with a healthy, beautiful smile.

Phase One – Establishing a Foundation

Some children exhibit early signs of jaw problems as they grow and develop. If children over the age of six have jaw discrepancy, they are usually candidates for Phase 1 treatment. This phase of orthodontic treatment utilizes appliances that direct the growth relationship between the upper and lower jaws to establish a good foundation and to provide adequate room for the eruption of permanent teeth. This early correction can prevent later removal of permanent teeth and/or the need for surgical procedures.

Resting Period

After Phase 1, there is a resting period that can last for six months to four years with observation appointments every few months. During this time, the remaining permanent teeth are allowed to come in. It may be necessary during this resting period to remove certain primary teeth to assist with the eruption of the permanent teeth. Retainers are often used to maintain tooth position. It's important to know that at the end of Phase 1, the teeth are not yet in their final positions as that will be accomplished in Phase 2.

Phase 2 Treatment

The end goal of Phase 2 treatment is to ensure that each tooth is in the exact, correct position in the mouth wherein it's in harmony with the lips, cheeks, tongue and other teeth. When this equilibrium is established, the teeth will function together properly. A patient in Phase 2 treatment will wear braces for between 12 and 24 months. When the braces come off, a retainer will be worn to ensure that the new, beautiful smile is retained.

Two-Phase treatment is only beneficial when a child's natural jaw structures are contributing to the overall orthodontic problem. This is why an initial evaluation by an orthodontist is recommended by the time a child reaches the age of 7.

If you'd like to schedule an initial orthodontic evaluation for your child with our San Jose orthodontics office, please give us a call at (408) 268-4433.