A good-looking smile takes a lot of work. After an orthodontic evaluation, Dr. Langford may talk to you and your child about two-phase treatment. Many people are unaware of this treatment and may feel intimidated by it, there’s so no need to feel alone. Langford Orthodontics is here to put you at ease and give your child the healthiest smile possible.

Two-phase treatment is straightforward and nowhere near as daunting as it sounds. It’s a simple orthodontic procedure that’s completed in two separate phases. The first phase focuses on straightening teeth, while the second stage is dedicated to physical changes in the face. Dividing a treatment into two phases allows us at Langford Orthodontics to give our patients beautiful, long-lasting, and healthy smiles.

Phase I

The first phase begins with a process called interceptive orthodontic treatment. In this phase, we deal with the orthodontic issues that are still in their early stages to prevent them from becoming more severe problems in the future. We start interceptive treatment when patients are between six and ten years of age because they still have their permanent teeth coming in.

This sort of treatment is used early on to prevent serious orthodontic problems from becoming worse over time because when treatment is delayed, it results in crooked or misaligned teeth and jaws. In this phase, we use orthodontic devices – partial braces or retainer-like devices – to correct the current problem, prevent future potential problems, and adjust your child’s growth and dental development.

During the first phase, patients are generally getting their permanent teeth while they still have some of their baby teeth at the same time, which is why we only recommend Phase I treatment when there are dental or jaw development issues which would considerably worsen if left untreated.

Parents should be relieved to know that at this point in children’s early lives, the majority of them do not require orthodontic treatment. The American Association of Orthodontics and our own Dr. Langford recommend children receive their first orthodontic evaluation by age seven so your child’s dental development is known to a professional. Having an early consultation with our experienced, friendly staff at Langford Orthodontics is a sure way to make sure your child’s growth and dental development are progressing the way they should.

The most common dental issues that require Phase I treatments are gum or periodontal health, tooth alignment, jaw development, or crowding and spacing issues. Dr. Langford also recommends it for the following dental issues:

  • Skeletal crossbites
  • Underbites
  • Open bites (situations in which the front teeth do not contact or overlap)
  • Severe crowding or spacing of the teeth
  • Disproportionately overlapping or deep bites
  • Jaw growth or jaws that are not in proportion to each other
  • Severely protruding teeth
  • Dental crossbites
  • Instances of unhealthy oral habits, like long-term thumb-sucking, bottle, or pacifier use

An additional treatment phase will be necessary after Phase I for some special cases. Because it’s doing an early intervention, Phase I is longer than Phase II, which is usually much shorter. Treating a dental difficulty proactively makes the issue more manageable and less time consuming later on. We take a period of rest in between the two phases because teeth are not yet in their final positions after Phase I, and it lets the remaining adult teeth erupt so in Phase II they can be aligned to their permanent positions.

Charming girl wearing braces with a beautiful candid smile

Phase II

The second phase begins as soon as the resting phase is done and all your child’s permanent teeth have arrived. This stage of treatment can’t be done if baby teeth are still present because it’s used to perfect tooth alignment. This phase is more familiar to patients and parents when thinking of orthodontic treatment because it involves installing braces on the upper and lower teeth.

Not all tooth and bite-related problems can be addressed to in the first phase, so in this second phase Dr. Langford properly aligns the jaw and straightens the teeth with braces. We pay extra close attention during this phase— to be sure that each tooth has a dedicated, optimum place in the mouth so that it can live peacefully among the lips, tongue, cheeks, and other teeth.

Once your child’s two-phase treatment is finished, Dr. Langford recommends wearing retainers to maintain their results. Wearing retainers as directed will hold their teeth in their new, straight positions. Langford Orthodontics is here to ensure that your child’s teeth have the optimum environment in which to look, feel and operate their best.

Some people are concerned that a two-phase treatment is a clever way to for orthodontists to apply two sets of braces. Rest assured, this is not the case. Nor does it take twice as long or cost twice as much.

Young woman with clear braces

At Langford Orthodontics, we try to avoid two-phase treatment whenever possible. Some patients, however, genuinely need it for long-lasting results. Two-phase treatment can prevent the need for more aggressive orthodontic treatment later in life. Proactive, preliminary treatment is the best way to achieve a life-long, healthy smile.

If you are in the Knoxville area, visit us at one of our two convenient offices or call us today. Our team is ready to help your child on their way to a beautiful and bright smile!

- Dr. Langford

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