Two-Phase Treatment Can Offer Less Invasive Orthodontic Solutions
Two-phase orthodontic treatment is not necessary for every patient. Oftentimes, our young patients are simply monitored until they are in their pre-teen or early teenage years. However, Dr. Knight believes in comprehensive care and offers two-phase treatment in his Louisville, KY, and Radcliff, KY offices for patients who can benefit from it.
The American Association of Orthodontists advocates that your child have his or her first visit by the age of seven. Because early care can significantly prevent future dental problems, Dr. Knight fully embraces this philosophy. Two-phase orthodontic treatment involves beginning the first phase of treatment when your child is around the age of 8 or 9 and initiating the second stage of treatment around the age of 12 or 13.
Phase One Treatment
Early interceptive treatment is commenced before all of the permanent (adult) teeth have erupted. The goal is to correct any issues with jaw growth or occlusion (the way teeth fit together) and help hold space for the eventual eruption of permanent teeth. During the developmental years, problems concerning the face and jaws can be addressed using conservative methods. Once the maxillofacial structures have completed growth, more invasive treatment may be necessary to correct the issues. The appliances used in phase one treatment may include partial braces, a retainer, or an expander, and will depend on your child’s specific needs. Early interceptive treatment may be indicated if you have:
- Crowding: Severe crowding of the teeth on either arch can be a risk factor for impacted teeth.
- Overbite: When there is a severe overbite (protrusion of the upper teeth), there is a higher probability of tooth loss due to trauma.
- Underbite: Severe underbites can lead to the need for surgical correction if left untreated.
- Crossbite: A crossbite is present if your upper teeth meet inside your lower teeth when you bite down naturally. This can cause abnormal jaw growth, excessive wear and tear on the tooth surfaces, and gum recession.
- Premature tooth loss: Many people are not concerned if a baby tooth is lost. However, shifting of the other teeth may lead to an overall loss of space that can be extremely difficult to correct later on.
- Negative habits: Behaviors such as excessive thumb sucking can lead to a myriad of dental issues regarding the development of maxillofacial structures. It can have a significant negative impact on tooth position and the roof of the mouth.
After phase one is complete, retainers may be used to maintain progress while allowing the eruption of the remaining permanent teeth. Dr. Knight will monitor your child’s development and growth during this period, and determine the best time to move forward into phase two treatment.
Phase Two Treatment
Phase two is much like traditional orthodontic treatment and typically begins around the age of 12 or 13. This phase of treatment is initiated once the majority of your child’s permanent teeth have erupted.
Advantages of Two-Phase Orthodontic Treatment
Many patients have experienced the benefits of two-phase orthodontic treatment. Though it is not necessary for everyone, this approach to orthodontic care can offer significant advantages:
- Less invasive correction
- Reduces the probability of future tooth extractions
- Improvement in speech development
- Hold space for permanent teeth
- Encourages optimal jaw growth
- Reduces the need for corrective jaw surgery
- Improvement in appearance and self-confidence