Two-phase treatment is a method of realigning teeth with braces that requires two separate phases. Each phase focuses on a different goal. The purpose behind two-phase treatment is to combine both tooth straightening and the realignment of facial skeletal structure. This treatment is meant to create an aesthetic result that lasts a lifetime.
The first phase is about aligning the skeletal or orofacial structure before the permanent teeth grow in. The orthodontist will take x-rays and photos of the teeth and jaw to determine whether this early orthodontic treatment is necessary. If the jaw or bite is incorrectly aligned, this may lead to more serious issues later on that are difficult and costly to correct. Treating these problems when the teeth are still developing is much easier than trying to correct issues later in adulthood. Baby teeth may be extracted to make room for adult teeth to grow in properly and prevent overcrowding or a retainer may be used to keep straighten out the bite.
During the resting period, the permanent teeth are left untouched to allow them to grow in. It is best to avoid orthodontic treatment during this period to avoid interference with permanent teeth and to allow them to move freely. The first phase should have helped to create a path for permanent teeth to begin orthodontic work.
The resting period usually lasts around six months and it is important to monitor the movement of teeth to determine further steps for the patient. From here, the patient will move on to phase two where braces are typically introduced.
The second phase focuses on correcting the teeth for a straighter smile. The purpose behind this phase is to ensure that each tooth has a designated location in the mouth and that it blends in with facial features. The phase begins once all permanent teeth are grown in, with the braces usually lasting for an average of 24 months. Phase two is typically when a full set of upper and lower braces are introduced. To ensure long-lasting results, retainers are worn to prevent the movement of teeth.
Whether or not two-phase treatment is necessary will depend on each patient’s situation, but it may require a longer process than traditional braces. The time between each phase is also contingent on every unique circumstance.
Let our Encino orthodontists know if you think you need two-phase treatment for yourself or your child and they can help assess whether it would be beneficial.