Two-phase orthodontic treatment is a specialized process that combines tooth straightening and physical, facial changes. The purpose of two-phase treatment is to maximize the opportunity to accomplish the ideal healthy, functional, and aesthetic result that will remain stable throughout your life.
- First Phase: The first phase of treatment is done while the child still has many or most of their primary or “baby” teeth.The first phase of treatment typically involves appliances, such as, an expander, space maintainer, or headgear, for growth modification. Braces may or may not be used during the first phase of treatment.
- Maintenance Phase: A “resting period” between the first and second phase to monitor permanent eruption and growth. The patient may wear a retainer during the Maintenance Phase.
- Second Phase: A second phase, if required, takes place once the child has most or all of their permanent teeth. A successful first phase will have created room for permanent teeth to find an eruption path. The second phase of treatment moves the permanent teeth into their final positions. This usually requires braces (or Invisalign) on all of the teeth for an average of 12-24 months.
Most children lose all their baby teeth by age 13, and by the end of their teen years the jaw bones will harden and stop growing. Some problems that can be treated quite well in a growing child may require corrective surgery if treated after growth has occurred. Receiving early orthodontic treatment as a child can help prevent the need for complex orthodontics in the adult dentition, leaving little to no need for future extractions or surgery.