Two-Phase Treatment

Girl with bracesFirst-Phase Treatment (Interceptive)

As children grow and develop, early signs of jaw problems may appear. Common jaw discrepancies include an upper or lower jaw that is too narrow, or wide, or growing too much or not enough. Although not all orthodontic patients will benefit from two-phase treatment, children over the age of four that have these growth problems are generally candidates for early orthodontic/orthopedic evaluation and treatment.

First-Phase Treatment is designed to:

  • Correct the alignment of the upper and lower jaws so they correlate to each other.
  • Guide the growth of the upper and lower jaws to ensure there is sufficient room for the permanent teeth to erupt.

Interceptive treatment is most effective when applied to a problem area that is undergoing its most rapid growth. Because most dentofacial development occurs rapidly and very early in children, they can benefit greatly from interceptive treatment. Orthodontic appliances can be utilized to correct jaw shape and guide the upper and lower jaw into a proper alignment. A good foundation can be established, thus creating enough space for the permanent teeth to erupt.

Moreover, first-phase treatment can prevent the need for surgical procedures to improve jaw alignment and the future extraction of permanent teeth to correct over-crowding.

First-phase treatment may also reduce treatment time necessary for any future second phase (finishing phase) of treatment. Delaying treatment until after the eruption of the permanent teeth could result in a jaw discrepancy or dental crowding that is too severe to obtain an optimal result using braces alone.

Records, which include radiographs, models of the teeth, photographs and a clinical exam, are necessary to establish a treatment plan, and determine what appliances will be used, the length of treatment, and the frequency of office visits.

Second-Phase Treatment (Finishing)

There is a precise location in the mouth for each tooth, where it is in proportion with the cheek, tongue, jaws, jaw joints and other teeth. When this balance is established, the teeth will function appropriately. With proper oral hygiene and wearing retainers as instructed your teeth should remain healthy, stable, comfortable and beautiful. This is the goal of second phase treatment.

During the first phase of treatment, orthodontic records are made, a treatment plan is established and specific appliances are utilized to correct the problem. The second-phase of treatment, which is initiated following the eruption of the permanent teeth, requires braces that are generally worn for 6-18 months. Subsequently, retainers are worn to stabilize the new bite. The second phase of treatment does not repeat any of the procedures completed in the first phase of treatment, but finishes the necessary orthodontic treatment.

Benefits of Two-Phase Treatment

Two-phase orthodontic/orthopedic treatment consists of tooth straightening (orthodontics) as well as jaw and facial changes (orthopedics). In today’s society there is an emphasis on living longer, remaining healthy and looking attractive. Optimum treatment results are needed to achieve these goals. The main benefit of two-phase treatment is to maximize the opportunity to achieve excellent, healthy, attractive, comfortable and functional long-term results. When appropriately utilized it will provide a better treatment result with less time and less expense.

Initiating treatment following the eruption of permanent tooth eruption and undergoing one-phase of treatment, in some cases, may produce a result that may not be functionally healthy or stable. Furthermore, jaw surgery or extractions may be required.

We certainly hope this summary helps you understand our philosophy regarding two-phase treatment. If you have any questions, please do not hesitate to ask us. We’ll be glad to help you understand our treatment concepts.