Here at Texas Family Orthodontics, we strive to provide parents in San Antonio and Windcrest with reliable, expert information on what a long-term plan for their child might look like. This can sometimes include two-part treatment. Many parents wonder about the difference between Phase 1 vs. Phase 2 treatment, and we have all your answers!
If you’ve been trying to determine if your child may need orthodontic treatment, we’re here to help! With clear, concise information from an experienced orthodontic source like Dr. Katie Vo, you’ll have every tool you need to make the best choice for your child’s smile. Keep reading below to learn more!
Getting Started With Healthy Smiles
The first step in any orthodontic journey is an orthodontic evaluation. At Texas Family Orthodontics, your initial consultation is always free! Although there’s no minimum age for a child to have their first orthodontic evaluation, the American Association of Orthodontists and Dr. Vo recommend that all children have an examination by around seven. By this age, most children will usually have a mix of permanent and baby teeth. An evaluation at this stage will give our team the chance to find, diagnose, and treat many common dental issues before they become more serious.
Like these orthodontic evaluations, early intervention can also reduce the need for more intensive orthodontic treatment later on. If a young child needs orthodontic care, we may choose to use two treatment phases to be proactive rather than reactive.
What to Know About Phase 1 and Phase 2 Treatment
Phase 1 and Phase 2 treatment are sometimes referred to as two-phase treatment. This process involves a child receiving orthodontic treatment at two separate times, usually with a break in between.
In most cases, we will initiate the first phase of treatment when the child still has a mix of primary and permanent teeth. This is followed by a rest period before beginning the second phase which begins once most adult teeth have emerged.
The approach used with two-phase treatment allows our team to create a better environment for a child’s permanent teeth to grow into. This gives them the best start for a healthy smile that functions precisely the way it should!
When your child visits Dr. Vo for the first time, she will complete a thorough oral examination, inspecting the mouth, teeth, and jaws. If any of the following is a concern, she may recommend two-phase treatment.
- Your child shows signs of a particular problem that we want to keep from developing (preventive treatment)
- Your child already has a developing problem that we now want to intercept (interceptive treatment)
- Your child’s jawbones appear to need a bit of guidance as they grow (growth modification)
Dr. Vo follows the standard childhood growth patterns and development to ensure the best smile and oral health. Doing so gives her the best chance to improve and correct orthodontic issues at the most reasonable time! Many common dental problems can be treated relatively quickly in a growing child but may require more invasive treatment as they age, especially once their jawbones stop growing.
Phase 1 treatment can often achieve lasting results for many of these kinds of issues. Sometimes, it can even lessen the impact of other problems. However, most patients will still require a second phase of treatment to complete the alignment process fully.
How Phase 1 and Phase 2 Treatments Work
Knowing a little about the basics of Phase 1 and Phase 2 treatment can help you feel at ease during your child’s treatment.
Phase one treatment can help a child’s jaw develop to accommodate all the permanent teeth better. It also improves the way the upper and lower jaws fit together. This treatment method can have many benefits for a growing child, including an improved ability to bite, chew, and digest their food more effectively. It can reduce the risk of tooth damage due to crowding, misalignment, or malformed jaws. If a child is experiencing any of the following issues, they may respond well to Phase 1 treatment.
- Crooked, crowded, or gapped teeth
- Protruding teeth
- Teeth that don’t come together correctly
- Oral habits that may affect their dental development
- Speech problems
- Jaw out of proportion to the rest of the head
- Baby teeth are obstructing incoming adult teeth.
The goal of any orthodontic treatment is long-term stability. We want the teeth to stay in whatever position Dr. Vo guides them! Once we have completed the first phase of treatment, the remaining permanent teeth should have a clear path to erupt. As we wait for these teeth to begin emerging, we will suspend orthodontic treatment to give the teeth, jaws, and mouth a temporary break. We’ll keep the teeth stable by using either a space maintainer or a retainer during this period.
This is the stage where everything comes together! We will start Phase 2 treatment once all your child’s permanent teeth have erupted. Braces or clear aligners will often be part of the treatment plan. Once treatment is complete, we’ll use a fixed bonded retainer or removable retainer to ensure that the teeth stay in their newly straightened positions long term.
Give Your Child A Lifetime of Smiles at Texas Family Orthodontics
Here at Texas Family Orthodontics, we don’t believe in a “one size fits all” approach to treatment. Every smile is unique, and what works for one child isn’t guaranteed to work for another. Dr. Vo will consider your child’s specific needs when creating an individualized treatment plan for their smile.
Our expert team is committed to providing the highest-quality orthodontic care to patients of all ages in Windcrest, San Antonio, and the surrounding communities. If you have a child around the recommended age for their first orthodontic visit, we’d love to schedule a free consultation for them! You can click here to schedule their FREE exam or give our office a call.