About Two-Phase Treatment
Two-phase orthodontic treatment starts with “early interceptive treatment” and finishes with “complete comprehensive treatment”. It is a specialized process that takes advantage of a critical period of jaw growth to maximize the potential for successful tooth alignment in the future. In some cases, correcting tooth and jaw positioning early on encourages more satisfactory dental and facial development during the teen and pre-teen years.
Does Two-Phase Treatment Mean Two Sets of Braces?
Not at Dr. Ziaja’s office. While Dr. Ziaja is a strong proponent of two-phase treatment because of the significant improvements which can be achieved, Dr. Ziaja strives NOT to include braces as part of the the first phase (early phase) of treatment. Over Dr. Ziaja’s thirty plus years of orthodontic experience he has found it best to focus to the biggest issues first and leave some cosmetic improvements until the second phase. Why is this important? Because it reduces the total cost of treatment. Reduces the risks of decay and staining on the teeth, and reduces patient burnout.
Who Needs Two-Phase Treatment?
Not everyone needs two-phase orthodontic treatment. At the age of seven, Dr. Ziaja can begin to identify serious misalignment issues. For example: an upper or lower jaw that is growing too much or not enough, crossbites, and crowding. Children with severe alignment problems can benefit substantially by an early dose of orthodontic treatment. If left untreated, jaw discrepancies and overcrowding will likely get worse over time and may become too severe for braces to be effective. Early orthodontic intervention reduces the need for extraction and other complicated, costly procedures later on.
Overall, the benefits of two-phase treatment are:
- Improved health, function and esthetics
- Reduced need for extractions of permanent teeth
- Reduced need for jaw surgery
- Improved airways
- A nicer smile
- Proper facial growth potential
First Phase (Early Phase)
The first, or early interceptive phase, takes place during the mixed dentition phase. This simply means that the child still has both permanent and baby teeth. During this treatment phase, which usually takes 12-18 months, problems such as overcrowding and functional and skeletal problems with the jaw can be corrected to encourage a more balanced bite. The treatment may include a combination of appliances, for example a removable retainer plus braces on existing permanent teeth, an expander, lip bumper sagittal appliances, or Jones Jig appliances appliances.
In between the first and second phases, a rest period is observed during which we wait for the remaining permanent teeth to erupt. We will see you during the resting period, usually once every 3-6 months, to monitor your progress.
The second phase of treatment begins once all of the permanent teeth have erupted. It usually involves a full set of upper and lower braces. Because the jaw is in a better position and each permanent tooth has found its proper space, often at this stage we can focus on esthetics and bite correction, building a beautiful smile to last a lifetime.
Call Dr. Ziaja at 586-247-6453 to find out if your child may benefit from two-phase orthodontics!