Two-phase treatment occurs when a patient is evaluated and needs intervention before starting regular orthodontic treatment, resulting in two separate treatment plans.
The first phase of treatment, Phase I, usually occurs when the patient is a child and still has his or her primary teeth. The Phase I treatment plan can include preventive, interceptive or modifying treatment. Orthodontic appliances may be placed to prevent a problem from occurring, correct a current problem or help direct jawbone growth. Multiple problems with tooth alignment, gums, jaws and facial problems can be corrected with Phase I treatment. Another common added benefit of Phase I treatment is less Phase II treatment time.
Typically, Phase II treatment is normal orthodontic treatment. This involves placing braces on the patient once his or her permanent teeth have erupted. The braces straighten the permanent teeth and finish correctly aligning the patient’s jaw.
Patients who have undergone both Phase I and Phase II treatment are more likely to have lasting results. Our goal for your two-phase orthodontic treatment is to give you correctly aligned teeth that provide ideal jaw function and a great smile!
When is the best time to begin orthodontics?
Though an orthodontist can enhance a smile at any age, there is an optimal time period to begin treatment. Beginning treatment at this time ensures the greatest result and the least amount of time and expense. The American Association of Orthodontists recommends that the initial orthodontic evaluation should occur at the first sign of orthodontic problems or no later than age 7. At this early age, orthodontic treatment may not be necessary, but vigilant examination can anticipate the most advantageous time to begin treatment.
What are the benefits of early orthodontic evaluation?
Early evaluation provides both timely detection of problems and greater opportunity for more effective treatment. Prudent intervention guides growth and development, preventing serious problems later. When orthodontic intervention is not necessary, an orthodontist can carefully monitor growth and development and begin treatment when it is ideal.
Why is age 7 considered the optimal time for screening?
The posterior occlusion is established when the first molars erupt. At that time, one can evaluate the antero-posterior and transverse relationships of the occlusion, as well as discover any functional shifts.
Incisors have begun to erupt and problems can be detected such as crowding, habits, deepbites, openbites and some facial asymmetries.
For some, a timely screening will lead to significant treatment benefits; for most, the principal immediate benefit is a parent's peace of mind.
The dentist who makes timely referrals is rightly regarded as informed, caring and concerned for the total well being of the patient.
What are the advantages of interceptive treatment?
For those patients who have clear indications for early intervention, early treatment presents the opportunity to:
- Influence jaw growth in a positive manner.
- Harmonize width of the dental arches.
- Improve eruption patterns.
- Lower risk of trauma to protruded upper incisors.
- Correct harmful oral habits.
- Improve aesthetics and self-esteem.
- Simplify and/or shorten treatment time for later corrective orthodontics.
- Reduce likelihood of impacted permanent teeth.
- Improve some speech problems.
- Preserve or gain space for erupting permanent teeth.
Are you a candidate for orthodontic treatment?
Orthodontics is not merely for improving the aesthetics of the smile; orthodontic treatment improves bad bites (malocclusions). Malocclusions occur as a result of tooth or jaw misalignment. Malocclusions affect the way you smile, chew, clean your teeth or feel about your smile.
Why should malocclusions be treated?
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.