Two Phased Orthodontic Treatment

What is "two phased orthodontic treatment" and why is it beneficial? Let me start by explaining that the American Association of Orthodontists recommend a check-up with an orthodontist no later than age 7. Early orthodontic monitoring can make orthodontic treatment easier and also prevent issues in the future. Timing is everything when it comes to your child's orthodontic treatment. In many cases, beginning orthodontic treatment while some baby teeth are present can benefit your child's orthodontic treatment. The main purpose of early orthodontic treatment is that it is PREVENTATIVE treatment. Twenty years ago orthodontists would use headgear or expanders as early preventative treatment. Now, we are capable of achieving the same goals without using outdated technology. 

What can we prevent with early orthodontic treatment?

The main things that can be prevented with early orthodontic treatment are:

1. The need for removal of adult teeth. Most early orthodontic treatment creates room to ensure enough space for the eruption of adult teeth. 

2. Dental trauma to adult or baby teeth. In many cases, when teeth protrude they are at high risk for a blow to the teeth resulting in a chipped or cracked tooth. 

3. Abnormal growth in teeth and jaw. By starting orthodontic treatment early we can help guide growth to prevent issues in the future.

4. The need for orthagnathic surgery. By beginning treatment at an early age, the goal is to lead growth down the right path. In these cases, the earlier the better. 

5. Dental relapse of teeth after braces. Once braces come off, your teeth will always have the tendency to want to drift back to their original positions. Of course the main purpose of retainers is to prevent that from happening. But, early orthodontic treatment can also help prevent dental relapse too. If the teeth are straightened and room has been created for the adult teeth while growth is happening, the position the teeth are put in during growth is the position the teeth want to relapse to. 

So then what is the purpose of a second phase of orthodontic treatment? Once phase one has been completed and growth and eruption of adult teeth has been assisted, we wait. Once the full adult dentition is erupted, your orthodontist will evaluate to see if a second stage of treatment is necessary. Generally, the main purpose of a second phase in orthodontic treatment is finishing, straightening, and aligning the teeth and jaw. 

Everyone has different orthodontic needs, whether it's that no treatment is expected to be necessary, or one or two stages of treatment are required. Regardless of how treatment goals are reached, the bottom line is that some orthodontic problems may be easier to correct if they are found and treated early. Waiting until all the permanent teeth have come in, or until facial growth is nearly complete, may make correction of some problems more difficult.