Here at Williams & Hamman Orthodontics, we strive to provide parents in Southaven and Olive Branch with reliable, expert information on what a long-term plan for their child might look like. One major question parents often have what the differences are between Phase 1 vs. Phase 2 treatment.
If you’ve been trying to determine if your child may benefit from orthodontic treatment, our team is here to help! With clear, concise information from an experienced orthodontic source like the team at Williams & Hamman Orthodontics, you’ll have the tools you need to make the best choice for your child’s smile. Keep reading below to learn more!
Getting Started on a Healthy Smile
The first step in any orthodontic journey is an orthodontic evaluation. We’re proud to provide an initial consultation at no charge for families in Southaven, Olive Branch, and surrounding communities! While there’s no minimum age for a child to have their first orthodontic evaluation, the American Association of Orthodontists recommends that all children have an examination by around age seven. By this time, most children will usually have a mix of permanent and baby teeth. Your first visit is incredibly important! An evaluation at this stage will give our team the chance to find, diagnose, and treat several common dental issues before they become more serious.
Like these orthodontic evaluations, early intervention can also reduce the need for more intensive orthodontic treatment later on. If a young child needs orthodontic care, we may choose to use two phases of treatment to be proactive rather than reactive.
Understanding Phase 1 and Phase 2 treatment
We sometimes refer to Phase 1 and Phase 2 treatment as two-phase treatment. It involves a child receiving orthodontic treatment at two separate times, usually with a break in between. In most cases, we will start the first phase of treatment when the child still has a mix of primary and permanent teeth. This is followed by a rest period before the second phase begins, which will allow all the adult teeth to emerge.
This two-phase treatment approach allows us to create a better environment for a child’s permanent teeth to grow. This gives them the best start for a healthy smile that functions precisely the way it should!
When your child visits Dr. Williams or Dr. Hamman for the first time, they’ll complete a thorough oral examination, inspecting the mouth, teeth, and jaws. If any of the following is a concern, we may recommend two-phase treatment:
- 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 now want to intercept (interceptive treatment)
- Your child’s jawbones appear to need a bit of guidance as they grow (growth modification)
Our doctors follow the standard childhood growth patterns and development to ensure the best smile and oral health. Doing so gives them the best chance to improve and correct orthodontic issues at the most reasonable time! Many common dental problems can be treated relatively easily in a growing child but may require more invasive treatment as they age, especially once their jawbones stop growing.
Phase 1 treatment can often achieve lasting results for many of these kinds of issues. Sometimes, it can even lessen the impact of other problems. However, most patients will still require a second phase of treatment to complete the alignment process.
How Phase 1 and Phase 2 treatments work
Understanding how the entire treatment process works to improve your child’s smile can help you get excited about the results you can expect for your child.
Phase one treatment can help a child’s jaw develop to accommodate all their permanent teeth better. It also improves the way the upper and lower jaws fit together. This treatment method can have several benefits for a growing child, including an improved ability to bite, chew, and digest their food. It can reduce the risk of tooth damage because of crowding, misalignment, or malformed jaws. If a child is experiencing any of the following issues, they may respond well to Phase 1 treatment.
- Crooked, crowded, or gapped teeth
- Protruding teeth
- Teeth that don’t come together correctly
- Oral habits that may affect their dental development
- Speech problems
- Jaw out of proportion to the rest of the head
- Baby teeth are obstructing incoming adult teeth
The goal of any orthodontic treatment is long-term stability. We want the teeth to stay in whatever position Dr. Williams or Dr. Hamman guides them! Once we have completed the first phase of treatment, the remaining permanent teeth should have a clear path to erupt. As we wait for these teeth to emerge, we’ll suspend orthodontic treatment to give the teeth, jaws, and mouth a temporary break. We’ll keep the teeth stable by using either a space maintainer or a non-removable retainer during this period.
This is the stage where everything comes together! We’ll typically start Phase 2 treatment once all your child’s permanent teeth have erupted. Braces or clear aligners will often be part of the treatment plan. Once treatment is complete, we’ll use a fixed bonded retainer or removable retainer to ensure that the teeth stay in their newly straightened positions long term.
A Lifetime of Smiles with Williams & Hamman Orthodontics
Here at Williams & Hamman Orthodontics, we believe that every smile is unique, and what works for one child might not work for another. Our doctors will consider your child’s specific needs when creating individualized treatment plans for their smile.
Our expert team is committed to providing the highest-quality orthodontic care to patients of all ages in Southaven, Olive Branch, and the surrounding areas. If you have a child around the recommended age for their first orthodontic visit, we’d love to schedule a free consultation for them! Contact our office today and our team will be happy to help you get started!