* 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 the age of 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 utilizing appliances that direct the growth relationship of the upper and lower jaws. Thus, a good foundation can be established, providing adequate room for eruption of all permanent teeth. This 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 result in a jaw discrepancy too severe to achieve an ideal result with braces. Orthodontic records will be necessary to determine the type of appliances to be used, the duration of treatment time, and the frequency of visits. Records consist of models of the teeth, x-rays, and photographs.
* In this phase, the remaining permanent teeth are allowed to erupt. Retaining devices are used to hold the correction while the rest of the permanent teeth come in. A successful first phase will have created room for them to find an eruption path.
Otherwise, they may become impacted or severely displaced. In other words, at the end of the first phase of treatment, teeth are not in their final positions. This will be determined and accomplished in the second phase of treatment.
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 three to six-month basis. There are no charges for these visits.
* Each tooth has an exact location in the mouth where it is in harmony with the lips, cheeks, tongue, and other teeth. When this balance is established, the teeth will function together properly. They will stay healthy and look attractive. This is the goal of the second and final phase of treatment. 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 directed 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.
* Two-phase orthodontic treatment is a very specialized process that encompasses tooth straightening and physical, facial changes. The emphasis today on living longer, staying healthy, and looking attractive requires optimum treatment results.
The major advantages of a two-phase treatment are to maximize the opportunity to accomplish the ideal healthy, functional, aesthetic results that will remain stable. Teeth that have never been allowed to become crowded are more likely to remain straight throughout life.
The disadvantage of waiting for complete eruption of permanent teeth and having only one phase of treatments, for someone with a jaw discrepancy, is facing the possibility of a compromised result that may not be completely functionally healthy and may not stay stable."