Williams & Hamman Orthodontics is proud to serve patients of all ages, and that means all ages! Did you know that your child should see the orthodontist as early as age seven? This is because there are some treatment options that may be easier as the teeth and jaw are still developing. In some cases, it might be the only time to take care of a problem easily! Let’s take a look at what treatment options are used during the two-phase treatment below.
Two-Phase Treatment – What is It?
Now, you might wonder, what exactly is two-phase orthodontic treatment, and how might it benefit my child? Well, we’re glad you asked! This type of treatment addresses orthodontic concerns in two separate stages. An initial interceptive stage typically begins when a child is around seven or nine years old, and both permanent and baby teeth are present. This phase focuses on correcting specific issues that, if dealt with early, improve treatment outcomes long-term or simplify later treatment. After the first phase, we’ll see your child several times a year to monitor the permanent teeth’s growth, development, and eruption. A second stage, which can involve braces or aligners, is initiated when the child is older and has all permanent teeth. This phase finalizes both alignment and bite correction.
What if I delay treatment?
Putting off treatment can result in a need for more invasive treatment later in life that may not completely fix your child’s smile and bite. When needed, early treatment is most effective for achieving lasting results.
Who’s it For?
While most children will benefit from one simple phase of orthodontic treatment, this leaves roughly 10% for whom a two-phase approach is most helpful to secure your child’s perfect smile and best possible oral health. The American Association of Orthodontists recommends that your child receive their first Orthodontist evaluation by age seven.
This is the case as, by age seven, your child should have a mix of baby teeth and permanent eruptions (the technical term for budding teeth). Dr. Williams or Dr. Hamman can quickly determine at this point in your child’s development a good picture of how their teeth and jaw will end up. This means that any developing issues, such as crowding, a potential under/overbite, crossbite, or many other problems, can be most effectively addressed before they more firmly take root.
While Dr. Williams or Dr. Hamman may decide to wait and see how things proceed instead of going ahead and forming a two-phase treatment plan, your child must receive the earliest possible interventions to minimize issues down the line.
What are the Benefits of Two-Phase Treatment for My Child?
If Dr. Williams or Dr. Hamman recommends a two-phase treatment plan, you can expect your child to receive the following advantages from such an approach:
Two Phase treatment can:
- Ensure the jaw develops with enough space for permanent teeth, particularly the canines.
- It can minimize the risk of having permanent teeth pulled due to misplacement.
- Many issues that would require surgery later in life are easily fixed during your child’s early development.
- Two-phase treatment is particularly effective at normalizing the relationship between the upper and lower jaw, especially in preventing the development of an underbite.
- Can fix prolonged sucking or improper swallowing problems.
- Improper pressure often shifts teeth towards improper directions and/or alters the shape of the jawbone supporting the teeth.
- It can fix the tendency of upper teeth to jut out too far, resulting in their likely injury due to accidents.
Dr. Williams or Dr. Hamman can ensure that these issues and more don’t have time to take root if she determines that two-phase treatment is right for your child.
What Does Treatment Look Like?
Just like it sounds, two-phase treatment consists of a first and second phase. The phases proceed as follows:
Phase One: Early Interceptive Treatment
Phase One treatment is all about helping the jaw to grow in such a way as to ensure that it accommodates your child’s permanent teeth, as well as fostering proper development of the upper and lower jaw. Early childhood is the perfect time for Dr. Williams or Dr. Hamman to recognize the first signs of problematic jaw growth. If your child’s upper jaw grows too much or narrowly to the lower, she’ll catch it. Then, she can take the opportunity of early interceptive treatment to treat tooth crowding issues.
The planning of phase one can help lay down the best possible outcome for your child’s orthodontic care. Records are made during phase one to guide the course of treatment. Dr. Williams or Dr. Hamman can then decide the type of appliances to be used, the likely duration of treatment, and how often your child should come into the office.
The resting phase is an essential period during which the permanent teeth can erupt without intervention. If the permanent teeth’s growth is misguided during this period, they may be impacted or badly misplaced. It’s often best to allow unrestricted eruption; that way, the permanent teeth have the necessary freedom to move about as they grow and develop. The initial work performed during the first phase will allow the permanents to come in their ideal configurations.
So, the resting period is about monitoring the progress of your child’s growing teeth and developing the best intervention plan during phase two. During the resting phase, Dr. Williams or Dr. Hamman may selectively remove certain baby teeth. Removing the baby teeth provides permanent teeth with proper space for eruption and development. During the resting period, you can expect to bring your child in roughly twice a year to keep things moving in the right direction.
Phase Two: Appliances, specific interventions.
In phase two, Dr. Williams or Dr. Hamman will take control to ensure that each tooth lines up correctly in the mouth and is in harmony with the other teeth, the jaws, lips, cheeks, and tongues.
The second phase is the orthodontic treatment most of us are familiar with. That means braces or Invisalign aligners on both upper and lower sets of teeth. Phase one takes advantage of the planning and records made during the first phase of treatment. Phase one will conclude with your child’s usage of a retainer to keep their finely crafted, healthy smile and jaw healthy!
Call Today to Learn More!
Now that you know how we can treat your child with two-phase treatment, all that’s left to do is take advantage of our always-free consultations! We’re North Mississippi’s solution for smiles of all sizes, so give us a call and let’s get started!