Does every child need two-phase orthodontic treatment?
Not all children are candidates for two-phase orthodontic treatment. Most children are simply observed during this growth and development stage to determine the optimum time to begin orthodontic treatment. Problems that may be treated at an early age include crowded or misplaced teeth, excessive overbites, underbites and crossbites, thumb and finger habits, and early or late loss of baby teeth.
If my child has a phase 1 treatment, will they need a second phase of treatment?
Most children who have a phase 1 treatment will require a second comprehensive phase of treatment. Dr. Fowler only recommends early treatment to children when it is necessary to minimize or prevent future orthodontic and jaw growth problems. Children who are candidates for a first phase of treatment often have complex orthodontic problems that require early intervention to facilitate normal growth and dental development. At the completion of the first phase of treatment and throughout the resting phase, Dr. Fowler will determine the need for comprehensive treatment.
Phase 1 Treatment
The goal of phase 1 treatment is to correct certain orthodontic problems that will be more difficult or impossible to correct when a child’s permanent teeth have fully erupted. These dental problems that may require early intervention are described below.
- Severely protruded teeth may need to be corrected to prevent injury or loss of teeth
- Dental crossbites can cause excessive tooth wear, gum recession and asymmetric jaw growth if not treated early
- Underbites should be treated at an early age to minimize the possibility of surgical correction
- Severe upper and lower crowding can lead to impacted teeth
- Oral habits, such as thumb sucking, can lead to severe bite problems
- Early loss of baby teeth can cause space loss which is difficult to correct at a later age
A phase 1 treatment may include an appliance, such as an expander or headgear, and/or a partial set of braces to assist in correcting problems. There are some simple solutions to early orthodontic problems, such as the use of space maintainers to allow the normal eruption of permanent teeth, or specialized retainers for minor tooth movement. Treatment duration ranges from 6 to 18 months.
In this phase, the remaining permanent teeth are allowed to erupt. Retaining devices are used that allow the existing permanent teeth some freedom of movement while final eruption of teeth occurs. Dr. Fowler will follow your child’s growth and development during this retention period.
Phase 2 Treatment
The goal of the second phase of treatment is to ideally align the teeth to create an aesthetic and functional smile. The second phase of treatment is initiated when the majority of permanent teeth have erupted and usually consists of full upper and lower braces. Treatment duration ranges from 12 to 24 months.