Early orthodontic intervention can reduce the need for more complex treatment later in life. Two-phase treatment helps you be proactive rather than reactive with your child’s oral health to give them the best chance for a healthy smile. But what exactly is this? Is it really needed? And how can it benefit your child? Let’s look at why your child may need two-phase orthodontic treatment at our office in Celina.
Defining Two-Phase Orthodontic Treatment
Two-phase orthodontic treatment is a specialized process that consists of a child receiving orthodontic treatment at two separate times, with a break in between each phase. It can be crucial in giving your child the best start for a healthy, functional, and beautiful smile that will last a lifetime. The goals of two-phase treatment are:
- to ensure a working relationship between the teeth and jaws
- to align the teeth, resulting in a straighter smile
- to position the teeth and jaws for pleasing facial symmetry and esthetics
How Does A Child Become Eligible For Two-Phase Treatment
Once Dr. Hemphill thoroughly examines your child’s mouth, he may recommend two-phase treatment to help create a better environment for the permanent teeth to erupt. Phase 1 may be recommended if:
- your child appears prone to a particular problem that we want to prevent from developing (preventive treatment)
- your child has an emerging problem we want to intercept (interceptive treatment)
- your child needs guidance in the growth of the jaw bones that support the teeth (growth modification)
Timing the first phase of orthodontic treatment according to the natural stages of dental development allows us to take advantage of your child’s growth. This head start gives us the greatest ability to correct any existing or suspected orthodontic issues early.
Dr. Hemphill can treat many common dental problems relatively quickly in a growing child that may require more invasive treatment if it wasn’t caught until later in life. Early treatment can achieve lasting results for some issues and lessen the impact of others. Even so, patients will require a second phase of treatment to complete the work that phase one started.
The Mechanics of Two-Phase Treatment
To fully understand how two-phase treatment works and could benefit your child, it is vital to understand the details of each phase and what goes on in the resting period between them.
Our team usually initiates phase one treatment to help the jaw develop in a way that will accommodate your child’s permanent teeth and improve the way their upper and lower jaws fit together.
This treatment method benefits children in several ways, including an improved ability to bite, chew, and digest food more effectively. It can reduce the risk of damage or injury to the teeth due to crowding, misalignment, or malformed jaws. There may also be psychosocial benefits of increased self-esteem and confidence, which is essential at any age, particularly in our younger patients!
First-phase treatment, done responsibly, contributes to longer-term stability, with the teeth staying in whatever position they move to. The second phase of treatment will continue that trend by moving the teeth into their final desired positions, but before starting this phase, your child will have a rest period.
A successful first phase of treatment creates room for the remaining permanent teeth to have a clear path to erupt, and it’s best to allow them some freedom of movement as this occurs. We often avoid using retainers or fixed appliances during this time, at most, use them sparingly, expecting things to move a little as the teeth and mouth develop.
Your child should maintain a healthy oral hygiene routine to prevent cavities and tooth decay during this time. When they’re accustomed to caring for their smiles before starting phase two, it’ll be much easier for them to adjust to caring for braces or aligners.
During the first phase, Dr. Hemphill’s treatment sets your child up for healthy growth and development. This leads to Phase 2, or comprehensive treatment, which is when he establishes a diagnosis and a customized treatment plan for your child.
The second phase is where everything starts to come together! We will generally begin this phase once all (or most) of your child’s permanent teeth erupt. Your child will likely wear braces or clear aligners during this time, and once treatment is complete, retainers will be necessary to ensure their newly straightened smile stays in place.
If you decide to proceed with two-phase treatment once you have discussed it with Dr. Hemphill, you can help make the most of it by helping your child:
- Follow our recommendations for maintenance and care
- Keep their appliances, teeth, and gums clean by encouraging an excellent dental hygiene routine that includes brushing and flossing at least twice a day
- Keep scheduled appointments with our office so we can closely monitor their progress
- Visit their regular dentist every 4-6 months for a checkup and cleaning
- Avoid any foods that can damage their appliance
- Maintain a healthy diet
Two-Phase Treatment at Hemphill Orthodontics
Need to schedule two-phase treatment for your child? Go here to schedule a free consult.