Two Phase Orthodontics in Atlanta, GA
As with many dental treatments, early diagnosis and intervention can prevent a great deal of hassle and expense in the future. At Patel & Womble Orthodontics, our two-phase orthodontic treatment takes advantage of this principle in order to create the ideal smile for your growing child. Dr. Ruchir R. Patel and Dr. Brian A. Womble are board-certified orthodontists in Atlanta that provide two-phase orthodontic treatment in both of our Norcross and McDonough locations.
What is Phase I/Phase II Orthodontic Treatment and How Is It Different from Other Orthodontic Treatment that Takes Place?
Rather than waiting till all of a child’s adult teeth have fully come in, we begin adjusting the position of the jaw or guiding the initial, permanent teeth into an optimal position that will promote a better bite as he/she ages. This provides better spacing and arrangement for additional teeth to erupt and lays a foundation for the second phase where the bite is fine-tuned.
What Is Advantageous About Two-Phase Orthodontic Treatment?
Phase I treatment essentially prevents the child from requiring more extensive treatment later on, making Phase II treatment less invasive. Two-phase orthodontic treatment encourages proper oral development but also has many added benefits. Besides reducing complications in the future, initial treatment may help your child’s speech patterns, allow for proper oral development and help them feel less embarrassed about their teeth.
What if Treatment Is Delayed?
Putting treatment off may mean that your child will require more extensive treatment later on, or even orthodontic surgery. Starting treatment early gives your child a natural head start on the proper bite and jaw development.
What Is Phase I Orthodontic Treatment?
Phase I treatment is the first of two treatments to correct a child’s bite. After a consultation and evaluation with Dr. Ruchir R. Patel or Dr. Brian A. Womble, we may recommend early intervention for children if there is a strong likelihood of jaw or tooth eruption complications. These may include problems such as:
- Upper or lower arches that are too narrow
- Misalignments that cause a crossbite, underbite or an open bite
- Teeth that are crowded
- Improperly erupting teeth that are misaligned
These types of complications are typically evident between the ages of seven and 10 years of age, so it is important to have a timely and accurate assessment so that treatment can be started early.
Phase I Treatment Benefits
- Promotes healthy jaw growth and development
- Enlarges the width of the arches for better tooth spacing
- Discourages oral habits such as tongue thrusting or thumb sucking
- Reduces the need for future surgery
- Prevents unnecessary dental extractions
- Improves speech
- Boosts self-esteem and confidence
- Encourages guidance of the erupting permanent teeth into correct locations
- Reduces the length of treatment used in Phase II
Do All Children Need Phase I Orthodontic Treatment?
Usually, only children with moderate to severe bite concerns need Phase I treatment. Early treatment can help them avoid more complex complications later on. Conditions that may need to be addressed include open bites, underbites, crossbites and severe crowding.
With Phase I, we can create better spacing and an environment that encourages the permanent teeth to erupt properly into place. It also encourages proper jaw development to reduce the length of time that your child will need to wear braces as a teenager or adult. After Phase I, most children will need to follow up with Phase II treatment when their mouth is a bit more developed.
After Phase I, it is ideal to allow the child’s teeth to fully erupt into place before starting Phase II. This resting phase will involve close observation by Dr. Womble or Dr. Patel, but may only require retainers to maintain the progress that was made during Phase I. In rare or complex cases, the resting phase may also include extractions or other orthodontic appliances.
What Is Phase II Orthodontic Treatment?
Based on the work performed during Phase I, the last stage of treatment will finish the process of proper tooth placement and alignment after the child’s mouth is a bit more mature. During this phase, metal braces will be used to give your child the beautiful smile and properly aligned bite that they deserve. After treatment, a retainer will be used to help maintain tooth spacing.
What Is Comprehensive Treatment?
An alternative to two-phase treatments is comprehensive orthodontics. Comprehensive treatments involve using traditional braces with orthodontic appliances until the remainder of the permanent teeth have erupted and the jaw is properly developed. This type of treatment is usually started around age 12, just after the last baby teeth have fallen out. The entire process typically lasts anywhere from one to three years.
Why Does the American Association of Orthodontists Recommend that All Children be Examined by an Orthodontist at Age Seven?
At age seven, most children have a mixed dentition, that is, they have a fair number of both permanent (adult) and primary (baby) teeth. It is the earliest age recommended to intervene if and when a child is in need of two-phase treatment. This key stage in your child’s oral development allows us to take steps to intervene and encourage proper tooth alignment.
Patel & Womble Orthodontics implements advanced cone beam (CBCT) 3D imaging to select the best course of treatment for your child. If you live in the Atlanta area near Norcross or McDonough, contact Patel & Womble Orthodontics today to talk to us about two-phase orthodontics with our board-certified orthodontists. CareCredit® financing options are available.