Orthodontic treatment is a process that most people are familiar with, in which appliances are placed on the upper and lower teeth to create a healthy, attractive smile. This process is often divided into two phases, each with its own objectives. Phase 1 treatment is designed to correct existing or developing skeletal or muscular orofacial environments before the arrival of all of the patient's permanent teeth. Its goal is to modify the position of the jaw to accommodate existing teeth, as well as those that will come out later.
Phase 2 treatment focuses on final alignment and usually begins when the patient is around 11 or 12 years old. Between the two phases, an orthodontist will use x-rays and physical exams to monitor the subsequent development of the jaw and the eruption of the remaining permanent teeth. This is because addressing problems in two different phases can prevent a child from needing more invasive treatment in the future. Children between 6 and 9 years old with abnormal jaw development may be good candidates for two-phase treatment.
The time between the two phases can range from months to years, and only a consultation with an orthodontist can determine if your child is a candidate for two-phase treatment. During this interim period, your child may be asked to wear a retainer to maintain the progress made in the first phase. Most orthodontists delay phase 2 until all of the permanent teeth have come out, which usually happens between the ages of 10 and 12.The ultimate goal of phase 2 orthodontic treatment is to ensure that you have a healthy and beautiful smile for life. Starting treatment at this stage allows us to observe how the jaw develops to ensure that it grows in a way that can accommodate the permanent teeth and improve the patient's bite.
It may also reduce the need to remove permanent teeth in the future.In some cases, phase 1 treatment can alleviate symptoms such as broken or cracked teeth, as well as reduce the risk of these issues occurring in the future. Goodall explains that a typical goal of phase 1 is to intercede early to allow for more efficient phase 2 treatment.Whether an orthodontist recommends phase 2 treatment for you or your child, the ultimate goal is to increase your confidence with a healthy smile. With two-phase orthodontic treatment, parents can rest assured that their child's smile will be healthy and attractive for life.
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