What is Two Phase Orthodontics?
This is a planned management program that ensures correct alignment, aesthetics and functioning of teeth and jaws for a child’s future. At Elite Orthodontics we have attained much success with this approach to orthodontic treatment.
Leaving Treatment Too Late
Many times, when patients come to seek out orthodontic treatment they have left the timing of their child’s treatment too late. They think that orthodontic treatment usually occurs once the child has all their adult teeth and when all the baby teeth have all fallen out. In many instances this could unfortunately be an error.
Leaving treatment or orthodontic intervention to a later stage often creates complexities in the treatment plan that can be avoided. By seeing child patients at the early stages of their dental development, we aim to avoid prolonging or complicating future treatment.
The Main Advantages of Two Phase Orthodontics:
- Intervention with orthodontic treatment at the right time creates the most optimal results for the rest of the child’s life.
- It will minimize additional and more complex treatments later on in life.
- We are able to achieve better aesthetics right from the start.
- We can create more stable teeth with fewer relapse issues in the future.
- We can establish better functional ability and dental health.
Your Child’s First Appointment
We recommend that your child has their first examination appointment with us around the age of 8. Apart from the advantages already mentioned, this also helps the child to become familiar with our team and the environment before we actively do any treatment.
This is an interceptive phase with preventive advantages. It is usually carried out on children between the ages of approximately 8 and 9 years.
This stage is very important and is aimed at early correction or prevention of future dental disabilities using relatively simple and brief courses of orthodontic treatment, often with removable braces only. Intervention at this stage helps to establish the correct foundation for jaw and dental growth and development, and for more effective orthodontic treatment at a later stage, thus preventing complex treatment later on.
Phase One Objectives
The goal of Phase One is not necessarily to bring about straight teeth at this time, because not all the milk teeth will have even fallen out at this age. The main goal of Phase One is to plan and predict what will happen in the future so that we can be prepared for it at the correct time. If needed, we can then implement the right interceptive therapy that will benefit your child at that stage of dental and facial development
We use special braces like arch expanders, or appliances that help the jaws to grow and develop correctly for the incoming adult teeth. It is at this time whilst the jaws are developing that we can easily fix issues such as cross-bites, overcrowding, over-bites, and under-bites, and prevent them from being firmly established in the mouth. We can also help with teeth that are sticking out unusually at this stage to help move them back. In this way, the risk of trauma and damage to the front teeth can be minimised.
By identifying and addressing at an early stage possible future dental anomalies that may develop, one could prevent extractions, complex orthodontics and/or jaw surgery when the child becomes an adult.
Treatments in Phase One involve:
- Correction of crossbites. The wrong bite relationship can become much harder to treat in teen years, and it could lead to excessive wear and tear of the teeth.
- Preservation of space. This is particularly important when there has been early loss of a milk tooth. In such a circumstance space can gradually close thus leading to an inability for the successor adult tooth to come through properly. Appliances such as space maintainers can, help keep the correct amount of space to facilitate the effortless eruption of the adult tooth.
- Creation of space. This is used in situations when there may not be enough space for adult teeth to come through properly. For example, we can perform expansion of dental arches to create space for eruption of permanent teeth whist the child is growing. This prevents overcrowding of teeth in a small jaw.
- Correction of harmful habits. Habits such as thumb-sucking can have long term detrimental effects on the developing dentition, which means more extensive or difficult treatment in the future.
- Prevention of impaction. A classic example of this is early recognition of canine teeth that are headed in the wrong direction and are likely to become impacted in the palate bone. Interceptive treatment can prevent this problem from occurring. Impactions could sometimes occur when baby teeth don’t fall out at the right time. Advice or intervention at this point can prevent the situation from getting worse.
- Establishing proper jaw relationships. Incorrect jaw relationships can identified and addressed early to ensure that children develop better, more stable and more balanced upper and lower jaw relationships.
- Retraction of protruding teeth. Apart from any cosmetic advantages, this could help minimise the risk of trauma and damage to the upper front teeth – a problem that could inconvenience a patient for life.
After Phase One, there is usually a period of rest with no appliances, to allow normal growth and development of the teeth and jaws to progress.
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This Phase usually begins around the age of 11-12, and it usually involves fixed braces or removable clear aligners. However we do start the planning process anywhere from 8 to 12 years of age.
See also: Treatments
At this stage we need to establish a new treatment plan based on the current bite and information gathered during Phase One and the rest period. New measurements and records are taken as part of a new orthodontic assessment.
The main goals of this phase are:
- To fully level and align the permanent adult teeth.
- To achieve the correct position for each tooth in the mouth.
- To close any excess spaces
- To establish the correct bite function of the teeth.
- To establish optimal aesthetics for the teen’s face.
- To stabilise the correct upper and lower jaw relationship.
- To balance the adult dentition as a whole unit for a lifetime of good dental health and function.