Two-phase or Early Phase orthodontic treatment may be indicated for special situations in younger children to reduce the severity of many orthodontic problems that would arise without treatment. Most orthodontists follow the American Association of Orthodontists’ recommendation that all children be screened by age 7. Not all orthodontic problems can be fixed in Phase 1, but the severity of orthodontic problems can be addressed, self-esteem can be improved, and proper planning can be made to produce the best long-term outcome. The major advantage of a two-phase orthodontic treatment is to maximize the opportunity to accomplish the ideal healthy, functional, aesthetic result that will remain stable throughout your life.
What is Phase 1 or Early Orthodontic Treatment?
Phase I orthodontic treatment is often recommended to patients ages 7-10 who will benefit from beginning orthodontic treatment prior to the loss of all their primary teeth. The goal of first-phase treatment is to develop the jaw size in order to accommodate all the permanent teeth and to relate the upper and lower jaws to each other. This will the amount and complexity of treatment later, such as having teeth extracted. Children sometimes exhibit early signs of jaw problems as they grow and develop. An upper and lower jaw that is growing too much or not enough can be recognized at an early age. If children after age 6 are found to have this jaw discrepancy, they are candidates for early orthodontic treatment. Early growth guidance treatment can help coordinate this jaw growth. Phase I treatment is also recommended for children who have moderate to severe bite problems, such as a cross-bite (the upper teeth fitting on the inside of the lower teeth), an under bite, or an open bite. It may be recommended for severely misaligned, or crowded, teeth. Typically, a patient requiring early treatment will have a removable appliance (similar to a retainer) and/or 4-6 braces on the erupted permanent teeth. Treatment may also involve an expander if a cross-bite or significant crowding is present. Specifics of treatment will be discussed thoroughly with you and your child during an initial consultation with Dr. Greenberg.
What is Phase 2 Orthodontic Treatment?
Phase 2 orthodontic treatment typically starts after all of the permanent teeth have erupted. This treatment period can be shorter and less complex than what would have otherwise been necessary. For example, the removal of permanent teeth may be avoided by having Phase I treatment. This second phase of treatment is often just to align all the teeth into a perfect position, or detail the bite, because early correction was completed in the first phase. Timing and type of treatment are dependent upon the problem and its severity, but typically, Phase I treatment will take 6-12 months and generally occurs between the ages of 7 and 10. The remainder of the permanent teeth will usually erupt by the age of 13, after which your child will be ready for Phase II treatment. This second phase of treatment can take from 12-24 months.
American Association of Orthodontists recommends an orthodontist evaluate all children at age 7. By this age, the permanent teeth are starting erupt and Dr. Greenberg can tell if a patient has adequate space for the remaining permanent teeth. If there is a problem with crowding, then steps can be taken to make more room for the permanent teeth. Dr. Greenberg will also check to see if there is an imbalance in the jaw relationship and correct it early, before it becomes a significant problem. Early screening can help prevent more complicated treatment later, which, in turn, can save time and money in the overall treatment process.
Our goal at RxSmile Frisco orthodontics office with Dr. Greg Greenberg is to provide highly personalized and comprehensive orthodontic care for our families in the Frisco-Plano metropolitan area. If you have questions about braces and would like to make an appointment with our orthodontist, Dr. Greg Greenberg, please call 972 335 1300 Monday through Thursday, or submit an online appointment request and we will respond within one business day.