Two-phase treatment is an orthodontic process that separates orthodontic care into two distinct phases beginning when the patient is very young. The advantage of two-phase treatment is that orthodontists can effectively control jaw and tooth misalignments as patients’ mouths and jaws develop. In some cases, this will help patients to avoid costly surgeries and procedures.
In most cases, it will help patients to enjoy maximum tooth health and appearance throughout their lifetime. Two-phase treatment is not necessary in all cases, but if the orthodontist recommends two-phase treatment, it can help patients to avoid the development of complications.
The objective of the first phase of treatment is typically to ensure adequate jaw space to fit all teeth once the permanent teeth erupt. Keeping proper alignment of the jaw and teeth is also important throughout this phase. Jaw misalignments can often be recognized after the patient reaches the age of six and steps can be taken to correct this before it worsens.
Orthodontists utilize x-rays, models of the teeth, and photographs to decide which appliances to use during phase one treatment. After the appliances have been installed, orthodontists will schedule frequent visits with the patient. Close records will be kept of the patient’s progress in order to make adjustments for the best results. Participating in phase one treatment often prevents patients from requiring tooth removal later on.
During the resting period, appliances are removed. It is at this time that the remaining permanent teeth erupt and fill in the space that has been created during phase one treatment. No retainers are usually prescribed during this period, as the retainers may interfere with the natural eruption of the permanent teeth. After all permanent teeth have erupted, the orthodontist will schedule an appointment to assess the alignment and spacing of the teeth.
During the second phase of treatment, orthodontists utilize all past and current records to determine the best course of action. Patients may require additional space for teeth, and in some cases it will be necessary to remove teeth or use devices to assist with this goal. Braces are typically worn for a period of about 24 months during phase two treatment.
After the removal of the braces, patients are given a retainer to maintain the positioning and alignment of the teeth. If patients follow all care instructions and recommendations throughout two-phase treatment, patients’ smiles are usually healthy and beautiful for a long time.