At McClaran Orthodontics in Nolensville, we get a lot of questions about why children should have two-phase orthodontic treatment. Luckily, we’re a great resource to shed light on its benefits and process (not to toot our own horn or anything…)! Understanding this treatment approach is vital to making informed decisions for your child’s orthodontic journey, so let’s not waste any time!
Understanding Two-Phase Treatment
Two-phase treatment is a proactive orthodontic approach tailored to address not just the present but also the future dental health of your child. Unlike traditional methods that typically begin in the early teen years, two-phase treatment starts much earlier, often when the child is between 7 and 11 years old.
As the American Association of Orthodontists says, two-phase treatment is for kids, but it’s not for all kids! In fact, most kids don’t need to get phase one and can skip straight to phase two when they’re old enough. However, it’s not always obvious who needs it and who doesn’t. The quickest, most accurate way to know if your child needs two-phase treatment is to have them evaluated by an orthodontist like Dr. McClaran. With her advanced technology, training, and experience, she can help you determine the best route for your child and set them up for orthodontic success!
But what if your child is one of the ones who needs to begin care sooner rather than later? What are the two phases, and does phase one really make that big of a difference? Let’s find out!
The First Phase – Building The Foundation
This phase starts when a child has a mix of baby and permanent teeth. The focus is on the jaws’ alignment and guaranteeing enough space for all future adult teeth to erupt. We’ll use tools like expanders, limited braces, space maintainers, or retainers to correct bite issues, make room for crowded teeth, and set the stage for the next phase.
The Resting Period
After Phase One is complete, your child will have a resting stage. We’ll still monitor their smile with periodic check-ups, but they likely won’t wear any orthodontic appliances. The teeth need space to erupt freely!
The Second Phase – Perfecting the Smile
Once most or all of the adult teeth have come in, it’s time to put the finishing touches on your child’s lovely smile. Phase Two is what people usually think of when they think of orthodontic care. It involves full braces or aligners to position each tooth perfectly and create a harmonious bite and a straight smile.
Benefits of Two-Phase Treatment for Your Child
As mentioned earlier, most kids can skip right to this phase, but children we recommend to receive Phase One treatment should get it! Here’s why:
Reduces Treatment Time
A common misunderstanding among parents and patients is that a two-phase treatment program means your child will spend double the time in braces. We want to clear that up now—it’s not true! Two-phase treatment can actually reduce the time your child will need to wear metal braces, Invisalign for Teens clear aligners, or LightForce clear braces. Addressing issues early on makes the alignment process more efficient, so your child will spend less time as an orthodontic patient and more time showing off a dazzling new smile!
Bonus Benefit: Quicker treatment can motivate younger patients to begin and complete care by making the experience less daunting.
Prevents Complex Issues
Early intervention is crucial in orthodontics. Phase One treatment targets and corrects alignment problems at a young age, preventing them from developing into more complex issues that are more difficult and time-consuming to treat. Children who need Phase One but skip straight to Phase Two or who wait until adulthood to begin care could require more time in braces or uncomfortable treatment methods, such as tooth pulling, to fix an issue that has worsened over time.
Jaw Growth Management & Functionality
A person’s bite and jaw joint functionality is linked to many aspects of their life, such as chewing, communication, digestive health, biting, and more. Two-phase treatment helps improve the mouth’s functionality by taking advantage of the fact that the jaws are still growing and developing, making treatment in childhood much more effortless than the same process in adult patients.
An aligned bite can even out the pressure on the jaw joint, reducing the risk of choking, digestive issues, and temporomandibular infections. It also makes eating, talking, and performing oral hygiene less uncomfortable!
Our team at McClaran Orthodontics always encourages children to love their smiles before and after treatment and to be kind to all, regardless of their appearance. Still, we also understand that an unusual smile can make it difficult for your child to gain social skills that will help them at all ages. This isolation can be self-imposed because of low self-esteem, or peers might exclude them for being different.
A straighter smile can make all the difference to a person’s ability to form relationships and feel good about their appearance. An aligned smile will upgrade your child’s quality of life by boosting their confidence and creating a better first impression to give others, which increases the number of positive social interactions and opportunities they have throughout their life.
Better Dental Health
Properly aligned teeth are easier to clean and maintain for people of all ages, especially children learning and establishing oral hygiene habits. Cleaner mouths mean healthier teeth and gums and a reduced risk of dental problems like cavities, gum disease, and bad breath! We’re sure your child would love to have a reason to have fewer dental appointments!
Investing in two-phase orthodontic treatment can be more economical in the long run. Addressing and correcting issues early often reduces the need for more extensive and costly alignment procedures later, like teeth pulling or orthognathic surgery, making it a financially sound decision for your family’s dental care budget. The decreased possibility of oral health issues saves your family some money, too!
An improper alignment can make breathing difficult for your child by narrowing their air passageways. Restricted airflow can force your child to mouth breathe day and night, increasing their chances of dry mouth, tooth decay, and sleep apnea. Two-phase treatment can treat, eliminate, or prevent these health concerns.
Visit McClaran Orthodontics Today To Discover If Your Child Is a Candidate For Two-Phase Treatment!
Ready to explore the possibilities of two-phase treatment for your child? Dr. McClaran and our team are here to guide you every step of the way. Contact us today to schedule your kid’s FREE in-person or virtual consultation at McClaran Orthodontics in Nolensville and start your child on the path to a healthier, happier smile!