The American Association of Orthodontists recommends all children have their first orthodontic consultation by the age of seven, and Lively and Napoli Orthodontics agrees. This allows experienced orthodontists like Dr. Mark Lively and Dr. Vincent Napoli to diagnose many common dental issues before they have a chance to become more serious.
Early orthodontic intervention has been shown to reduce the overall need for more complex treatment at a later age, and the idea of being proactive rather than reactive with your child’s oral health can be summed up in two-phase treatment. But what exactly is this, and how can it benefit your child? Let’s look at what to expect from two-phase treatment with our Stuart office.
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 Dr. Lively or Dr. Napoli completes a thorough examination of your child’s mouth, they may recommend two-phase treatment with the goal of creating 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 predictable stages of dental development allows us to take advantage of normal childhood growth and development. This head start gives us the most potential to improve and correct any suspected or present orthodontic issues early.
Our team can treat many common dental problems relatively easily in a growing child that may require more invasive treatment if started later in life. Early treatment can achieve 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 alignment that is started during the first phase of treatment.
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 all of your child’s permanent teeth, as well as improve the way their upper and lower jaws fit together.
This treatment method can benefit 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. There may even be some unexpected emotional benefits as self-esteem and self-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 this phase is initiated, there will need to be a rest period.
A successful first phase creates room for the remaining permanent teeth to have a clear path to erupt in, and most orthodontists believe it is best to allow them some freedom of movement as this occurs. During this time, we tend to avoid using any retainers or fixed appliances.
During the first phase, our doctors will establish a diagnosis and create a customized treatment plan for your child. We may have used certain appliances, like braces or clear aligners, to properly align their teeth and jaws.
The second phase is where everything starts to come together! We will normally begin this phase once all of your child’s permanent teeth have erupted. It will often require braces or clear aligners to be used for a time, and once treatment is complete, retainers will be necessary to ensure their newly straightened smile stays that way. If you decide to proceed with two-phase treatment once you have discussed it with our doctors, 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
Explore two-phase treatment with Lively and Napoli Orthodontics
At Lively and Napoli Orthodontics, we do not believe in 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, and that is why Dr. Lively and Dr. Napoli are dedicated to finding the best fit for your child regarding orthodontic treatment.
Our expert team takes pride in providing quality care to all the families we serve in Stuart, FL, and the surrounding areas. If you are interested in learning 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. We will help you discover your child’s best and brightest smile!