There are a lot of terms that those of us in the orthodontic field use that might not make sense to everyone else. If you have ever been lost when hearing about orthodontic treatment, this blog is here to help! We want to make the process easy to understand and even easier to get started on your own treatment to create a gorgeous smile.
One of those terms that people can get confused about is two-phase treatment. What does it mean and who is it for exactly? That’s what we explore today with the help of Dr. Westfall’s expertise. Read on to find out how a two-phase treatment might be the right fit for your child!
What Is Two-Phase Treatment?
Two-phase treatment is a process that is sometimes used for children to help their jaw and mouth grow into better alignment before doing later treatment for straighter teeth. There are two parts, starting when a child is young and before they have even finished losing their baby teeth. We recommend parents bring in their kids around the age of seven to be evaluated to see if their jaw and facial development are on track. If not, then Dr. Westfall may recommend a two-phase treatment.
After the first phase, the second will happen a few years later once their mature teeth have grown in. This phase will be all about making the teeth nice and straight to make a stunning, healthy smile. The two phases together should equal a healthy jaw, teeth, and bite that will support your child’s overall health for the rest of their life!
If the results of the two-phase treatment can build a foundation for the health of the teeth and jaw, align teeth for a straight, beautiful smile, and position the jaw for improved facial symmetry, then we will consider that a job well done!
Why Might My Child Benefit from Two-Phase Treatment?
First of all, know that two-phase treatment is not necessary for every child every time. The biggest indicator of two-phase treatment is the growth of the jaw. Having a misaligned jaw or a crooked bite can have some serious ramifications on health with poor chewing and breathing, pain, digestion issues, communication struggles, and so much more. That’s why it’s usually worth it to catch jaw problems before they even start and treat them to prevent discomfort later.
There are three approaches to two-phase treatment.
-Preventative interventions where Dr. Westfall’s approach will be about preventing jaw issues before they even appear.
-Interceptive interventions will slow down and reverse jaw problems that have already begun to develop.
-Growth modification to simply boost normal jaw growth patterns.
Understanding How Each Phase Works
If Dr. Westfall does an evaluation of your child’s mouth, bite, and teeth and determines that they would benefit from two-phase treatment, then this is usually the timeline of how things go:
In phase one, your child will start a treatment program using orthodontic devices! The types of devices they use and for how long will be determined by their unique needs and what Dr. Westfall recommends. This often can be a limited set of braces, retainers, palatal expanders, rubber bands, and/or spacers! Ensuring that your child sticks to the treatment plan and takes care of their teeth throughout will be super important.
Remember, the goal of this stage is to shift the jaw for optimal bite and alignment. So you may not see your child’s teeth getting straight just yet, that will come later.
The resting period might not look like it but it is actually a really important part of this process. Once phase one is finished and their devices are removed, we need to let their teeth rest for a few months or years as they continue to grow naturally. They should finish losing their baby teeth and grow most of their adult teeth during this time. And they will likely stay busy just being kids and growing up!
Dr. Westfall will keep an eye on your child’s development throughout the rest period, and when the time is right, he will invite you back to get started on phase two! Phase two is much more straightforward, usually focusing on using braces or clear aligners to create a straight smile. Since their jaw and bite should mostly be in good shape, treatment times tend to be shorter and less uncomfortable, too!
As long as you are able to keep up with the regular appointments, and your child is consistently keeping their smile clean, they should finish phase two with a gorgeous and healthy smile that will last a lifetime! It might sound long or daunting, but we promise that the stunning results will be worth all the effort!
Explore Treatment Options at Westfall Orthodontics
If the time is right, we would like to invite you to come and explore treatment options for you or your child at Westfall Orthodontics. With offices in Abingdon, Richlands, and Bristol, Virginia we are sure to have a location that is convenient for you and your family. Give us a call to learn more about our free consultation appointments!