There’s an entire world of information at our fingertips these days, with everything we could ever hope to know just a few clicks away. While this has undoubtedly made our lives easier in a million different ways, there are times it can be a bit of a double-edged sword, too. This is particularly true when we want to know more about important topics like medical, dental, or oral health. Most questions along these lines return so many results that it can be difficult to know which ones to trust and which to ignore! This can make it difficult to understand what to know about two-phase treatment.
If you’ve been wondering if or when your child would benefit from orthodontic treatment like braces or aligners, you may be feeling confused or overwhelmed by all the information you’re turning up in your search. If so, Shiney Smiles Orthodontics is here to help! To get a better idea of what a long-term plan for your child’s orthodontic care could look like, keep reading below.
The first step in your child’s journey to a healthier smile
You likely already know how important regular dental appointments are for maintaining your child’s smile, but did you know the role orthodontic evaluations play in their oral health? That’s why the American Association of Orthodontists recommends all children have an orthodontic exam by around the age of seven. By this time, most kids will have a good mix of permanent and baby teeth that will give an orthodontist like Dr. Sheinis the chance to diagnose and correct many common issues before they can cause more serious problems.
Early orthodontic evaluations and intervention can also help reduce the need for more invasive orthodontic treatment later in life. This process can be summed up by something we call two-phase treatment, which is a specialized service that allows us to treat our younger patients with a proactive approach rather than a reactive one. It is often recommended for children we anticipate will need orthodontics as they grow.
The basics of two-phase orthodontic treatment
As the name implies, two-phase treatment involves a child receiving orthodontic treatment at two separate times, with a break in between. The first phase of treatment is usually initiated when the child still has a mix of primary and permanent teeth. This is then followed by a period of rest before the second phase begins when most or all of the adult teeth have emerged.
With two-phase treatment, we can create a better environment for a child’s permanent teeth to grow into by:
- creating a more optimal relationship between the teeth and jaws
- aligning the teeth, resulting in a straighter smile
- positioning the teeth and jaws for more pleasing facial symmetry
During your child’s initial orthodontic examination with Dr. Sheinis, he will perform a thorough inspection of their teeth and jaws. We may recommend two-phase treatment if we believe
- your child will be prone to a particular problem that we want to keep from developing (preventive treatment)
- your child already has a developing problem that we now want to intercept (interceptive treatment)
- your child’s jawbones may need a bit of guidance as they grow (growth modification)
Many problems that can be treated relatively easily in a growing child will require more invasive treatment as they age and their jawbones stop growing. Early treatment can often achieve lasting results for many of these issues, and may even lessen the impact of others. Most patients will still require a second phase of treatment to complete the alignment process we begin with the first phase, however. This gives our young patients the best chance for a healthy, attractive, and fully functional smile!
How does two-phase treatment work?
Knowing the basics of each phase and what goes on during the resting period can help you understand how the whole process works together to improve your child’s overall oral health.
The purpose of Phase I treatment is to guide the child’s jaw development so that it can better accommodate all of their permanent teeth. There are numerous other benefits as well, including an improvement in the way the upper and lower jaws fit together and the ability to bite, chew, and digest food more effectively. Phase I treatment can also reduce the risk of tooth damage due to crowding, misalignment, or malformed jaws.
Treatment in this phase contributes to long-term stability, meaning the teeth stay in whatever positions they’re guided to. The second phase of treatment continues this stabilizing process by moving the teeth into their final positions. Before we can begin this, there will be a period where the permanent teeth are emerging. While this is occurring, we’ll suspend any orthodontic treatment to give the teeth, jaws, and mouth a temporary break.
After we have successfully achieved the first phase of treatment, the remaining permanent teeth should have a clear path to erupt. We’ll keep teeth stable during the resting period by using either a space maintainer or a non-removable retainer.
Everything starts coming together with this phase! We’ll normally initiate this phase once all of your child’s permanent teeth have erupted, and it will often require the use of traditional braces or clear aligner therapy. Once treatment is complete, we’ll provide your child with a retainer to ensure that the newly straightened teeth stay in place.
Your child’s best smile begins at Shiney Smiles Orthodontics
Your child’s smile is as unique as they are, and their orthodontic treatment should reflect that. That’s why Dr. Sheinis customizes every treatment plan based on the patient’s specific needs, lifestyle, and goals. Your child will benefit from our personalized approach, state-of-the-art equipment, and experienced team!
If you have a child ready for their first orthodontic evaluation, get in touch with us today to schedule a FREE consultation with our Huntington or Woodbury office. This is the perfect time to take the first step towards a lifetime of healthy smiles for your child!