Although most patients don’t require orthodontic treatment until they are tweens or teens, some children can benefit from receiving treatment as early as age seven, before all of their adult teeth have come in. Two phase orthodontics ensures these patients are getting the very best treatment out there to fully correct their issue. What is two phase orthodontics? Let’s find out.
Why Two Phase Orthodontics?
Some patients’ orthodontic problems are more severe and require a little extra help. By combining tooth straightening with structural solutions, orthodontists are able to help patients who are suffering from more complex issues. Two phase orthodontics treats the following issues:
- Jaw abnormalities
- Bite issues (especially underbites)
- Speech impediments
- Severe crowding
Two phase orthodontics is used to help many young patients begin to tackle these problems before their jaws and teeth fully develop, making treatment less invasive and potentially less expensive.
About Phase I Treatment
Phase I treatment deals with the structure of the jaw, helping the mouth accommodate all of the permanent teeth that will be in place soon. When the jaw bones don’t grow properly, the mouth is often not equipped to handle all of the teeth that are erupting, which can cause alignment, spacing and other issues. Jaw growth and the overall structure of the mouth is addressed in Phase I treatment. Expanders are used a lot in Phase I treatment. They help to widen the top jaw so it lines up better with the bottom jaw and has enough room for all of the adult teeth.
Partial braces are also used during this phase, especially if a child’s front teeth protrude from their mouths. This situation puts the teeth at risk if a child falls and hits their face, and it can cause the child to be very self-conscious of their smile.
Invisalign can also be used to address severe crookedness and problems with the shape of the jaw with the Invisalign First system. This is a great option to make the first phase of two-phase treatment more comfortable for kids while reducing anxiety about the appearance of their smiles.
Phase I treatment will typically begin between the ages of seven and ten.
About Phase II Treatment
Phase II treatment concentrates on the alignment of the teeth. Once the structural issues are taken care of, orthodontists can now focus on perfecting the smile and eliminating any crowding or spacing problems. Typically, Phase II relies on braces or Invisalign to correct these issues, and treatment lasts anywhere from six to 24 months, depending on the severity of the patient’s issues.
Phase II begins once all of the permanent teeth are in place, which is usually around age 12.
Two Phase Orthodontic Treatment
The consequences can be quite severe if you don’t address these particular issues early on, especially if they deal with jaw growth. Abnormal jaw growth can impact patients well into adulthood, causing difficulties with performing everyday tasks and discomfort as well. The reason why orthodontists recommend beginning treatment so early is that once the bones set, it’s difficult to fix these issues without surgery. That is why it’s important to handle any structural issues as early as possible to avoid problems later.