What is the advantage of two-phase orthodontic treatment?
Oftentimes, it is best to divide orthodontic treatment into two phases because there are some modifications that can only be accomplished in younger children before they have stopped growing. Children benefit tremendously from phase one treatment. Receiving early treatment may prevent the removal of permanent teeth later in life, or the need for surgical procedures to realign the jaws. Phase One treatment allows room for all of the permanent teeth and improves the way the jaws fit together. This first treatment phase typically includes the use of a growth modification appliance, such as a palate expander-a device to help correct an underbite or overbite.
Discrepancies can be seen at an early age- The American Association of Orthodontists (AAO) recommends that all children get a check-up with an orthodontist at the first recognition of an orthodontic problem, but no later than age 7.
What if treatment is put off?
Putting off treatment can result in a need for more invasive treatment later in life that may not completely fix your child's smile. When needed, early treatment is most effective for achieving lasting results.
Resting Period-monitoring the teeth's progress
At the end of the first phase of treatment, teeth are not in their final positions. This will be determined and accomplished in the second phase of treatment. Selective removal of certain primary (baby) teeth may be in the best interest of enhancing eruption during this resting phase. Therefore, periodic recall appointments for observation are necessary, usually on a six-month basis.
The second phase typically begins when all permanent teeth have erupted, and usually requires upper and lower braces or Invisalign™ on all the teeth for an average of 12-18 months. Retainers are worn after this phase to ensure your child retains his or her beautiful smile.