What is the advantage of two-phase orthodontic treatment?
The purpose of two-phase treatment is to correct certain orthodontic problems at the appropriate time while a child is growing. The American Association of Orthodontists (AAO) recommends that all children get a check-up with a specialty-trained orthodontist at the first recognition of the existence of an orthodontic problem, but no later than age 7. No referral is necessary.
What if I put off treatment until later?
The goal of two-phase treatment is to maximize a child's potential for a healthy and functional bite and a balanced face. Putting treatment off until later may end up taking more time, be more aggressive (extractions or jaw surgery), and possibly less successful (inability to fully correct jaw problems).
The goal of Phase I treatment is to guide the growth and development of the jaws to create space for permanent teeth and/or improve the bite. Treatment options include:
Expanders to increase jaw width
Night-time facemask for underbites
Upper braces to align and/or reduce protrusion of teeth
Removable appliances to increase space for teeth, improve the developing bite and jaw growth
Habit appliances for thumb or finger sucking
Space maintainers after early loss of baby molars
After phase I treatment, your child will come in periodically to check the retainer. This will also provide the opportunity to check eruption of the permanent teeth and growth of the jaws, as well as overall somatic growth. These are all factors that should be considered when planning phase II treatment/full braces.
The goal of the second phase is to make sure all of the teeth are aligned and the bite is completely corrected. When this equilibrium is established, the teeth will fit and and function together properly and look best to create a beautiful smile. Options for this phase include full braces and Invisalign.