Two-Phase Treatment, A Primer
“WHY NOT JUST PUT BRACES ON?” We hear this from parents all the time. Good question. Many parents that come in were treated this way themselves and some of us were, too.
There was a time – a generation ago – that orthodontists would use braces in an effort to fix what were actually structural issues. Lots of learning later, we now know that it is imperative to establish a stable foundation before moving teeth.
Enter Two-Phase Treatment – a steady method that builds a quality foundation for results that last a lifetime.
Partnering With Mother Nature
Everyone grows according to his or her own genetic blueprint. When we initiate orthodontic treatment, it isn’t because a child has reached a particular age, but because they have reached a particular point in their development. That may be right away, or it may require coming back every 6 months for diagnostic measurements to identify the appropriate point of growth. Read about our Future Rock Stars rewards system.
As Dr. Bronsky always says, “If you work with Mother Nature, she will help you get great results. If you do not, you will lose”.
Phase I / Interceptive Treatment
Phase I Treatment generally takes place between the ages of 7 and 12. During this preventative phase, we utilize orthodontic appliances to slowly and steadily redistribute and redirect growth. This improves the jaw position and establishes the appropriate space for permanent teeth – all prior to even considering braces. All patients are different, and in some cases, Phase I isn’t required. When appropriate, we move right into Phase II.
Phase II Treatment
Once the foundation is properly set, we utilize braces to guide teeth into the appropriate positions. When the bite, teeth, bones and gums work in harmony, the results will last a lifetime.
The “Aha” Moment
Issues that may arise from premature tooth movement include the following. Turns out, many of our adult patients and parents have experienced them firsthand:
- Treatments “fall apart” because braces were applied prematurely – the teeth may be straight but the body is still growing, which allows for relapse. Relapse may also occur because patients “outgrow” the correction.
- Teeth were moved before root development was complete, potentially reducing blood supply to the area and leading to less-than-ideal development and unstable structures.
- Timing is everything: Orthodontics from the last generation was all about tooth movement, so teeth were straightened while the jaw was still growing, setting up the potential for relapse which may include the reappearance of crowding, malocclusion and lead to unnecessary extraction.