Two-Phase Treatment

Part of being a parent is trying to anticipate the needs of your children, not only now, but in the future as well. If you’ve found yourself thinking about if, when, and what kind of orthodontic treatment your child might eventually need, Cowan Orthodontics can provide you with reliable information you can trust! Our expert team will be able to give you a better idea of what a long-term plan for your child’s orthodontic care might look like. If you’re looking for clear, concise information you can trust from an expert orthodontic source, we’ve got you covered. Keep reading below to learn more!

Taking the first step towards your child’s best smile

The first step in any journey towards a straighter, healthier smile is a consultation with our Tuscaloosa office. While there’s no minimum age for a child to have their initial orthodontic evaluation, the American Association of Orthodontists recommends that all children have an examination by about seven years old. At this stage in their development, your child will generally have a mix of permanent and baby teeth. By examining their mouth around this time, Dr. Cowan is able to find, diagnose, and treat a variety of common dental issues before they have the chance to cause more serious problems.

This kind of early intervention also helps to reduce the need for more intensive treatment options later. This process can be summed up by something called two-phase treatment, a specialized service that is designed to be proactive rather than reactive. It’s often recommended for younger patients that we anticipate will need orthodontics as they reach their tween or teen years. Let’s take a look at what exactly two-phase treatment is, and how it works to give children the best smile possible!

Understanding two-phase treatment

As the name suggests, two-phase treatment involves a child receiving orthodontic treatment at two separate times, with a break in between. In a majority of cases, the first phase of treatment will be initiated when the child still has a mix of primary and permanent teeth. There will then be a period of rest before the second phase begins, usually once most or all of the adult teeth have emerged.

Two-phase treatment is often used to create a better environment for a child’s permanent teeth to grow into. This gives them the best start for achieving a healthy smile that functions precisely the way it should. With two-phase treatment, we are able to promote an optimal environment in a child’s mouth by:

  • creating a more harmonious relationship between the teeth and jaws
  • aligning the teeth, resulting in a straighter smile
  • positioning the teeth and jaws for more pleasing facial symmetry

When you schedule an initial orthodontic examination for your child, Dr. Cowan will thoroughly inspect their teeth and jaws. He may recommend two-phase treatment if it appears that:

  • your child will be prone to 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 jaw bones may need a bit of guidance as they grow (growth modification)

Cowan Orthodontics is careful to follow and respect the normal patterns of childhood growth and development, as this allows us to improve and correct orthodontic issues at an opportune time. Many common dental problems can be treated relatively easily in a growing child, but may require more invasive treatment as they age and their jaw bones stop growing. Early treatment can achieve lasting results for many of these issues, and in some cases, it may even be able to lessen their impact. That being said, most patients will still require a second phase of treatment in order to complete the alignment process we begin with the first phase.

How two-phase treatment works

You’re a partner with us in your child’s orthodontic journey. By understanding the basics of each phase and what goes on during the resting period, you’ll be able to see more clearly how the process of two-phase treatment works to improve your child’s oral health.

Phase One

The treatment used in Phase One can help a child’s jaw develop to better accommodate all the permanent teeth, and can also improve the way the upper and lower jaws fit together. This method of treatment has several benefits, including an improved ability to bite, chew, and digest food more effectively. It may also reduce the risk for oral damage due to crowding, misalignment, or malformed jaws.

Treatment in this phase is the starting point for long-term stability. Essentially, this means we want the teeth to stay in whatever position Dr. Cowan guides them to. The second phase of treatment continues this stabilization process by moving the teeth into their final optimal positions. But before we can begin this, the child will experience a number of permanent teeth emerging. To give the teeth, jaws, and mouth a temporary break, orthodontic treatment is suspended during this time.

Resting Period

By successfully completing the first phase of treatment, the remaining permanent teeth should have a clear path to erupt. During this period, we’ll help keep the teeth stable by using either a space maintainer or a non-removable retainer.

Phase Two

This is where everything starts to come together! We will generally initiate this phase once all a child’s permanent teeth have erupted. It often includes the use of traditional braces or clear aligner therapy like Invisalign. Once treatment is complete, we may use a fixed bonded retainer to ensure that newly straightened smiles stay that way!

Creating a custom smile for your child at Cowan Orthodontics

Here at Cowan Orthodontics, we believe that every smile is unique! What works for one patient won’t always work for another, and that’s why you’ll never experience “cookie cutter” treatment here. Dr. Cowan takes into account the specific needs of every patient when creating a customized individual treatment plan for them. That means your child will receive nothing but the highest-quality orthodontic care to ensure a beautiful custom smile.

If your child is around seven years of age and ready for their first orthodontic visit, we’d love to schedule a consultation for you, so contact us today to make an appointment. There’s never been a better time to start your child on the path towards a straighter, healthier smile!