What is the advantage of two-phase orthodontic treatment?
There are orthodontic advantages to treating certain cases in two separate stages. The goal of the Phase I treatment is to develop well-oriented jaws, healthy bones and gums, and adequate room for permanent teeth. Children sometimes exhibit early signs of jaw problems as they grow and develop. For example, an upper or lower jaw that is growing too much or not enough can benefit from early orthodontic treatment. Crowded jaws can also benefit from early observation and treatment. This early correction can prevent the removal of permanent teeth due to excessive overbite or overcrowding. If you believe a problem exists, you are most likely correct in your assessment.
Generally, we use a growth-modifying appliance for skeletal problems, limiting the need for braces, to create necessary space for patients between 8-12 years of age. In our practice, approximately 25 percent of patients evaluated between these ages undergo early treatment. Our goals for these cases are:
-Influence jaw growth in a positive manner
-Improve the width of the dental arches
-Reduce the need to extract permanent teeth
-Reduce/eliminate the need for jaw surgery
-Mitigate the risk of trauma to (or breakage of) protruding front teeth
-Correct harmful oral habits
-Improve facial aesthetics, which translate to higher self-esteem
-Simplify and shorten treatment time for Phase II
-Improve speech development
-Improve the position of erupting teeth
-Preserve or create more space for erupting teeth
-Guide permanent teeth into more favorable position(s)
-Improve lip competence, keeping the lips together
-Take advantage of increased orthodontic compliance before the busy teenage years
During Phase II treatment, our goal is to position all of the permanent teeth to maximize their appearance and improve their functional integrity. This is best accomplished by placing braces on all of the upper and lower teeth. The treatment length for Phase II is generally 18-24 months long.