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When your child is turns 7 or 8, you can help ensure a lifetime of oral health by bringing them to their first orthodontic exam with our children’s orthodontist in Glendale, CA. The purpose of this initial exam is to identify if your child would benefit from Two-Phase Treatment. Most children and parents leave their exam happy to know that treatment can wait (or may not be needed at all!) For other children, however, catching potential issues early can make a big difference in their future treatment needs.
Two-phase orthodontic treatment is a very specialized process that encompasses tooth straightening and physical facial changes. The major advantage of two-phase treatment is that it uses your child’s natural growth patterns to guide their tooth and jaw development. By doing this, preventative treatment can eliminate the need for future extractions and potentially the need for braces!
While issues can typically be addressed at any age, there are certain important disadvantages if you put treatment off and only have one phase of treatment at age 12 or later (after all the permanent teeth have completely erupted). In particular, without two-phase treatment, you risk needing more extensive, expensive, and invasive treatment later. Also, someone with a jaw discrepancy will face the possibility of a compromised result that may not be stable.
The goal of first-phase treatment is to develop the jaw size in order to accommodate all the permanent teeth and to relate the upper and lower jaws to each other. Children sometimes exhibit early signs of jaw problems as they grow and develop. An upper and lower jaw that is growing too much or not enough can be recognized at an early age. If children after age 6 are found to have this jaw discrepancy, they are candidates for early orthodontic treatment.
Because they are growing rapidly, children can benefit enormously from an early phase of orthodontic treatment. Phase One treatment uses appliances that direct the growth of your child’s upper and lower jaws. Thus, a good foundation can be established, providing adequate room for eruption of all permanent teeth.
Early correction may prevent later removal of permanent teeth to correct overcrowding and/or surgical procedures to align the upper and lower jaws. Leaving such a condition untreated until all permanent teeth erupt could even result in a jaw discrepancy too severe to achieve an ideal result with braces.
In this phase, the remaining permanent teeth are allowed to erupt. Retaining devices are not usually recommended since they may interfere with eruption. It is best to allow the existing permanent teeth some freedom of movement while final eruption of teeth occurs. A successful first phase will have created room for teeth to find an eruption path. Otherwise, they may become impacted or severely displaced.
At the end of the first phase of treatment, teeth are not in their final positions yet. This will be determined and accomplished in the second phase of treatment with our children’s orthodontist in Glendale, CA. Selective removal of certain primary (baby) teeth may be in the best interest of enhancing eruption during this resting phase. Therefore, periodic recall appointments for observation are necessary, usually on a six-month basis.
The goal of the second phase is to make sure each tooth has an exact location in the mouth where it is in harmony with the lips, cheeks, tongue, and other teeth. When this equilibrium is established, the teeth will function together properly.
At the beginning of the first phase, orthodontic records were made and a diagnosis and treatment plan established. Certain types of appliances were used in the first phase, as dictated by the problem. The second phase is initiated when all permanent teeth have erupted, and usually requires braces on all the teeth for an average of 24 months. Retainers are worn after this phase to ensure you retain your beautiful smile.
To learn more about two-phase treatment and to find out if it would benefit your child, schedule a free, no-obligation exam and consultation with Dr. Bergh, our experienced children’s orthodontist in Glendale, CA. During your appointment, Dr. Bergh will perform a thorough analysis of your child’s smile, explain any potential treatment recommendation, and answer all your questions. To request your child’s free Bergh Orthodontics Smile Analysis, call 818.273.6225 or click here today.