The American Association of Orthodontists and Farnsworth Orthodontics recommend that all children have their first orthodontic consultation by age seven. This allows our experienced orthodontists like Dr. David Farnsworth, Dr. Justin Sorensen, Dr. Jae Brimhall, and Dr. Jacob Shelley to diagnose dental issues before they become more serious.
Early orthodontic intervention has been shown to reduce the overall need for more complex treatment later in life. Two-phase treatment helps you be proactive rather than reactive with your child’s oral health to give them the best chance for a healthy smile. But what exactly is this, and how can it benefit your child? Let’s look at what to expect from two-phase treatment at our offices in Carlsbad, Clovis, Hobbs, New Mexico, and Lubbock, Texas.
What is two-phase orthodontic treatment?
Two-phase orthodontic treatment is a specialized process that consists of a child receiving orthodontic treatment at two separate times, with a break in between each phase. It can be important in giving your child the best start for a healthy, functional, and beautiful smile that will last a lifetime. The goals of two-phase treatment are:
- to ensure a working relationship between the teeth and jaws
- to align the teeth, resulting in a straighter smile
- to position the teeth and jaws for pleasing facial symmetry
What would qualify a child for two-phase treatment?
Once your Farnsworth orthodontist thoroughly examines your child’s mouth, they may recommend a two-phase treatment plan to help create a better environment for the permanent teeth to erupt. The first phase of treatment may be suggested if:
- your child appears prone to a particular problem that we want to prevent from developing (preventive treatment)
- your child has an emerging problem we want to intercept (interceptive treatment)
- your child needs guidance in the growth of the jaw bones that support the teeth (growth modification)
Timing the first phase of orthodontic treatment according to the natural stages of dental development allows us to take advantage of your child’s growth and development. This head start gives us the most potential to improve and correct any suspected or present orthodontic issues early.
We can treat many common dental problems relatively easily in a growing child that may require more invasive treatment if addressed later in life. Early treatment can create lasting results for some issues and lessen the impact of others. Even so, most patients will require a second phase of treatment to complete the work that is started during phase one.
How does two-phase treatment work?
To fully understand how two-phase treatment works and could benefit your child, it is important to understand the details of each phase and what goes on in the resting period between them.
Phase one treatment is usually initiated to help the jaw develop in a way that will accommodate your child’s permanent teeth and improve how their upper and lower jaws fit together.
This treatment method benefits children in several ways, including an improved ability to bite, chew, and digest food more effectively. It can also reduce the risk of damaged teeth due to crowding, misalignment, or malformed jaws.
Your child may even have some unexpected emotional benefits as their self-esteem and confidence increase, which is important at any age, particularly in our younger patients!
First-phase treatment contributes to longer-term stability, with the teeth staying in whatever position they are moved to. The second phase of treatment will continue that trend by moving the teeth into their final desired positions, but before starting this phase, your child will have a rest period.
A successful first phase of treatment creates room for the remaining permanent teeth to have a clear path to erupt, and it’s best to allow them some freedom of movement as this occurs. We tend to avoid using retainers or fixed appliances during this time.
Your child should maintain a healthy oral hygiene routine to prevent cavities and tooth decay during this time. When they’re accustomed to caring for their smiles before starting phase two, it’ll be much easier for them to adjust to caring for braces or aligners.
During the first phase, your child’s orthodontist will establish a diagnosis and create a customized treatment plan for their smile. The second phase is where everything starts to come together!
We typically start phase two of treatment when your child has all their permanent teeth. They’ll likely wear braces or clear aligners during phase two, and once treatment is complete, retainers will be necessary to keep their newly straightened smile in place.
If you decide to proceed with two-phase treatment once you have discussed it with your orthodontist, you can help make the most of it by helping your child:
- follow our recommendations for maintenance and care
- keep their appliances, teeth, and gums clean by encouraging an excellent dental hygiene routine that includes brushing and flossing at least twice a day
- keep scheduled appointments with our office so we can closely monitor their progress
- visit their regular dentist every six months for a checkup and cleaning
- avoid any foods that can damage their appliance
- maintain a healthy diet
Give your child a lifetime of smiles with Farnsworth Orthodontics
At Farnsworth Orthodontics, you’ll never find a “one size fits all” approach to smiles. Your smile is unique, so we create customized treatment plans for every patient we see. What is right for one child will not necessarily be right for another, so we’ll go above and beyond to find the right path for your child.
Our expert team takes pride in providing quality care to all the families we serve in Carlsbad, Clovis, Hobbs, Lubbock, San Angelo and the surrounding areas. If you want to learn more about two-phase orthodontic treatment and how it could improve your child’s oral health, contact us today to schedule your free, no-obligation consultation with our team of expert orthodontists. We’ll help you discover your child’s best and brightest smile!