You may hear the term “two-phase treatment” from us at Craig & Streight Orthodontics once your child finishes his or her orthodontic evaluation with us. If you haven’t heard this term before, it can sound a little intimidating. Luckily, it’s not as confusing as it sounds!

Two-phase treatment is the orthodontic process that is carried out in two stages. Tooth straightening is the first stage. The second stage is physical, facial changes. It allows us to provide patients with a healthy, beautiful outcome that lasts for years to come.

Phase I begins with interceptive orthodontic treatment. This stage stops orthodontic issues in their preliminary stages so they won’t become serious problems later. Generally, treatment happens when your child is around 8-9 years old and the permanent teeth are still coming in. Phase I treatment is recommended when severe orthodontic difficulties can be made worse by waiting, resulting in crooked or misaligned teeth and jaws.  

We start Phase II treatment once your child has all his or her permanent teeth. Since Phase II is used to perfect teeth alignment, it cannot be done while there are still baby teeth.

Just to set your mind at ease, we want to assure you that two-phase treatment is NOT a tricky way to put on two sets of braces. It also does not cost twice the money or take twice the time.

We prefer to avoid two-phase treatment if possible but to get long-lasting results some patients require it.

Still not sure what two-phase treatment is or what it fully entails? Let’s take a closer look at two-phase treatment to be sure we are answering all your questions and concerns.  

Phase I orthodontic treatment

Smiling young girl wearing palatal expanderWhen a young patient needs intervention before regular orthodontic treatment, they go through two distinct phases. Phase I often includes things like orthodontic devices such as palatal expanders, partial braces, and retainer-like devices. These devices are used to correct the issues currently happening, to prevent future issues, and to help adjust the child’s growth and dental development.

Phase I treatment happens between the ages of six and ten, so patients usually have a combination of baby teeth and permanent teeth. Phase I treatment is generally only recommended when there are dental development problems and/or jaw development problems that would steadily become worse if not treated.

While many children do not need treatment this soon in their lives, the American Association of Orthodontics, Dr. Craig and I recommend that children have their first orthodontic evaluation by or before their seventh birthday. This way, we can see if any treatment does need to be implemented sooner rather than later. Having an early consultation with compassionate and friendly orthodontists like us is a wonderful first step in ensuring your child’s growth and dental development are headed in the right direction.

Phase I corrects a wide array of dental difficulties like tooth alignment, jaw development, gum or periodontal health, and crowding and spacing problems. Orthodontists also recommend Phase I treatment for common dental issues such as:

  • dental crossbites
  • skeletal crossbites
  • underbites
  • excessively overlapping or deep bites
  • open bites (situations in which the front teeth do not contact or overlap)
  • jaw growth or jaws that are not in proportion to each other
  • severely protruding teeth
  • the occurrence of challenging oral habits, such as extended thumb-sucking, bottle, or pacifier use
  • clefts
  • severe crowding or spacing of the teeth

Often, but not always, an additional treatment phase will be required after Phase I. Since Phase I provides early intervention (and can take a little time), Phase II usually doesn’t take as long as Phase I. By treating dental problems early, they can often be reduced to simpler issues which can be remedied at a later time with braces or orthodontic devices.

The resting period

Teeth will not yet be in their final positions once Phase I is done; the final alignment will be done in Phase II. Between these two phases, patients take a period of rest to wait for the remaining permanent teeth to erupt.

Phase II orthodontic treatment

Close up portrait of Smiling girl showing dental braces.Phase II usually involves using Invisalign or upper and lower braces once the permanent teeth have erupted. Since not all tooth and bite-related issues can be fixed in Phase I, during Phase II, we really focus on ensuring each individual tooth has a specific, optimal place in the mouth. Orthodontics encourage a balance between your cheeks, tongue, lips, and teeth, so that all can function well together.

Post-treatment

After completing your two-phase treatment, Dr. Craig and I will recommend retainers to retain your results. Retainers are used to hold teeth in their new, permanent positions and help maintain your beautiful, straight smile.

Undergoing two-phase treatment with Craig & Streight Orthodontics

Two-phase treatment is not necessary for every child, but for those who require it, it can avert the need for more aggressive treatment later. Early treatment is always the most effective way to get permanent, enduring results.

If you have a child aged seven or under who has not had his or her first orthodontic evaluation, and live in the Norman, Mustang, or Oklahoma City area, contact us today to schedule an appointment at either one of our offices. Our friendly, knowledgeable team is eager to help you craft a gorgeous, healthy smile!