Two-phase orthodontic treatment is an approach that can be used on child patients who present with significant orthodontic problems. This form of treatment straightens teeth and guides the jaw, paying close attention to facial symmetry. The goal is to correct problems using appliances alone that, if left untreated in childhood, would need to be corrected using surgery and tooth removal.
The Phases of Treatment
Two-phase treatment is best broken down into four phases, despite the name These phases are phase one, resting phase, phase two, and retention phase. Each treatment phase has a specific purpose.
- Phase one: Harnessing the growth the child is undergoing, the doctor will use appliances to guide the jaws and teeth so that they are in a good position and there is room to accommodate all permanent teeth. This phase usually starts around age nine and lasts a year.
- Resting phase: For one to three years, the child will have a resting period where no appliances are worn, save for perhaps retainers. The child will see the doctor on a regular basis to make sure all is going well. Then, once all, or nearly all, permanent teeth have erupted, the next phase can begin.
- Phase two: In phase two, the corrections made by phase one are perfected, giving each tooth a specific location in the mouth. The goal is to ensure that the teeth function properly and align well top to bottom and side to side. This requires wearing both upper and lower braces.
- Retention Phase: Once the braces come off again, it is time to keep the teeth in place using retainers. The length of time retainers must be worn will vary, but it is usually a minimum of two years wearing them full time.
To find out if your child could benefit from two-phase treatment, schedule a consultation as close to their seventh birthday as possible.