As a parent, you want the best of everything for your child. That includes a beautiful, healthy smile! Here at Luv Braces, we have several treatment options to help children achieve straighter teeth and improved oral health. One such option is something we call two-phase treatment, which begins before all the permanent teeth have erupted, usually between the ages of six and ten. For orthodontic issues requiring immediate treatment, this multi-phased method can make a significant difference in the patient’s outcome. We’re taking a closer look at phase I and phase II treatment to give you all you need to know!
We often hear from parents in Austin or Bee Cave who are wondering if their child may benefit from orthodontics, and if so, at what age they should begin. Our goal is to provide them with reliable information that will present a clear picture of what a long-term treatment plan for their child could look like. Two-phase treatment allows us to provide the best care, at the best time, for the best value. If you’ve given any thought to orthodontic care for your child, keep reading to learn how two-phase treatment could give their smile the best start possible!
The basics of two-phase treatment
As you may have guessed from the name, two-phase treatment involves a child receiving orthodontic treatment at two separate times, with a break in between. The first phase is generally initiated when the child still has a good mix of primary and permanent teeth. This is followed by an observation period before beginning the second phase, which will usually be once all of the adult teeth have fully emerged.
Two-phase treatment allows us to create a better environment for a child’s permanent teeth to grow into. We use this process to create a more harmonious relationship between the teeth and jaws, align the teeth, and position the teeth and jaws for better facial symmetry. By following the normal patterns of childhood growth and development, we’re able to correct orthodontic issues at the most opportune time! Many of these problems can be treated with relative ease in a younger child but may require more invasive treatment as they age and their jaw bones stop growing.
Early treatment can achieve lasting results for many of these issues and lessen the impact of others. Most patients will still require a second phase of treatment to complete the alignment process, however.
Phase I treatment
Phase I treatment helps a child’s jaw develop to better accommodate all the permanent teeth. It can also improve the way the upper and lower jaws fit together. There are several other benefits as well, including an improved ability to bite, chew, and digest food more effectively. It can also reduce the risk of tooth damage due to crowding, misalignment, or malformed jaws.
The goal of any orthodontic treatment is long-term stability. We want the teeth to stay in positions we’ve guided them to! The second phase of treatment will continue this stabilization process by moving the teeth into their final positions, but before that, there will be a period of rest while the permanent teeth emerge. While this is happening, we’ll suspend active treatment to give the teeth, jaws, and mouth a temporary break.
Once we’ve completed the first phase of treatment, the remaining permanent teeth should have a clear path to erupt. During this period, we’ll help keep the teeth stable by using either a space maintainer or a non-removable retainer.
Phase II treatment
This phase will usually begin once all of your child’s permanent teeth have erupted. We’ll use braces or aligners to complete the straightening process and give your child a beautiful new smile. Once treatment is complete, we’ll provide them with a retainer to ensure that their newly straightened teeth stay that way!
Who is a good candidate for Phase I & Phase II treatment?
When you schedule an orthodontic evaluation for your child with one of our doctors, they will look at how the teeth are growing and determine if there’s enough room in the mouth for all the adult teeth to grow in properly. While there’s no minimum age for this initial visit, the American Association of Orthodontists recommends that all children have an examination by around the age of seven. At this point, your child will normally have a mixture of adult and baby teeth which will serve as “dental landmarks” for Dr. Tahbaz and Dr. Rezapour.
Since a child’s rate of growth can impact the effectiveness of treatment, our doctors will also assess your child’s jaw growth rate. If any of the following issues are a concern, two-phase treatment may be recommended.
- Your child shows signs of a particular problem that we want to keep from developing (preventive treatment)
- Your child already has a developing problem that we want to intercept (interceptive treatment)
- Your child’s jawbones appear to need some extra guidance as they grow (growth modification)
Two-phase treatment is designed to be proactive rather than reactive, and can be very beneficial for young patients who are likely to need orthodontic care as they grow. Some of the potential benefits include:
- a reduced need for extraction of permanent teeth
- a reduced need for jaw surgery
- correction of harmful oral habits
- improved cosmetic appearance
- increased self-esteem
- increased stability of final treatment results
- less likelihood of impacted permanent teeth
Create a custom smile your child will love with Luv Braces
Your child’s smile is as unique as they are, which is why we don’t believe in a “one size fits all” approach for our patients. Instead, our doctors will build a personalized treatment plan around your child’s specific needs and lifestyle. As a family-owned practice, we’re committed to helping patients of all ages feel comfortable and cared for throughout the treatment process. If you have a child who is ready for their first orthodontic visit, get in touch to schedule their FREE consultation with Luv Braces! There’s never been a better time to take the first step towards a lifetime of healthy smiles for your child.