Planning orthodontic treatment for your child may seem daunting, but at Ollins Orthodontics we make sure it is not! We want to make orthodontic treatment for your child — and you — as hassle and worry-free as possible. Who knows, we might even have a little fun on the way! The American Association of Orthodontists suggests that all children should have their first orthodontic consultation by around the age of seven. The early detection of common dental issues BEFORE they have a chance to become serious problems, reduces the need for more complex orthodontic treatment at a later age. See? We are already saving you and your child time and worry!

Something you may hear us mention once your child has completed their first orthodontic evaluation with us is two-phase treatment. Orthodontic treatment is all about being proactive and diligent. The early bird does in fact get the worm! We are sure you are wondering what exactly two-phase treatment is, and how it will benefit your child. So let us get to it!

Two-Phase Orthodontic Treatment

As intimidating as it may sound, two-phase orthodontic treatment is actually a pretty simple process. Like most things in orthodontia, its bark is worse than its bite! It consists of two separate phases (hence the name) when a child receives orthodontic treatment. It combines the straightening of the teeth with the bony physical, facial changes. There is normally a break in treatment in between the phases—just like a vacation! Think of it as a cruise to the Bahamas, without the cruise and without the Bahamas.

The first phase of treatment begins while the child still has a mix of baby and adult teeth. The second phase then takes place once the child has most or all of their permanent teeth— they grow up so fast! Braces and other orthodontic appliances may be suggested during the first phase of treatment. It all depends on the nature and severity of each specific case. We are all unique, and we are all special!

Two-phase treatment maximizes the chance to give children a healthy, functional, and beautiful smile that lasts a lifetime. Their school pictures will get better each and every year! The goals of two-phase treatment are:

  • To correct the alignment of the teeth, resulting in a straighter smile— yay!
  • To position the teeth and jaws for more pleasant facial symmetry— alright!
  • To ensure a proper, working relationship between the teeth and jaws— sweet!

Boy with braces

Qualifiers for Two-Phase Treatment

The goal of two-phase treatment is to create a better environment for your child’s permanent teeth to grow into. Imagine your idea of paradise— that is how we want your child’s mouth to feel! The first phase of treatment is designed to:

  • Prevent problems from developing.
  • Intercept developing problems.
  • Guide the growth of the jaw bones that support the teeth.

We are are able to take advantage of normal childhood growth and development by timing the first phase of orthodontic treatment to the predictable stages of dental development. Orthodontic treatment and a child’s growth complement each other well— just like peas and carrots! This can provide the most potential for improving and correcting any suspected orthodontic issues early on.

If most growth has already occurred then some problems that are usually treated relatively easily in a growing child may require more intensive treatment. Early treatment turns severe problems into more manageable ones that can be treated with braces or other orthodontic devices at later on.

Two-Phase Treatment at Work

In order to understand how two-phase treatment benefits your child, understanding what happens with each phase and the resting period in between, is integral. But do not worry— this is nothing like that trig class you had senior year!

Phase One
This first step helps the jaw develop in a way that will accommodate all the permanent teeth, as well as improving the way the upper and lower jaws fit together. This benefits younger patients by improving their ability to bite, chew, and even digest food more effectively. It reduces the risk of broken teeth due to crowded or crooked teeth, or malformed jaws. There are added emotional benefits from a straighter, healthier smile like increased self-esteem and self-confidence. Dr. Ollins wants to help your child be as happy in their own skin as they deserve to be!

The results from first phase treatment contribute to longer-term stability. To simplify: this means that the teeth stay where they are moved to. And now comes the easy part: rest!

Resting Period
We leave the remaining permanent teeth alone as they continue to erupt during the resting phase. This allows them freedom of movement, and most times there is no need for retainers or fixed appliances during this time. A successful first phase creates room and a clear path for the permanent teeth to erupt in— like a volcano!

Phase Two
Orthodontic records are made, a diagnosis is established, and a customized treatment plan is created for your child during the first phase— so much is accomplished! Give yourself a hand! There may have even been some certain types of orthodontic appliances used to realign the teeth and jaw.

The second phase is where all of these things come together! This phase begins once all their permanent teeth have erupted. It often requires braces on the teeth for a small amount of time. Retainers will need to be worn as directed to ensure that straight new smile stays in place once treatment is complete,.

During treatment, you can help your child achieve the goals set out by Dr. Ollins by:

  • Keep all scheduled appointments so Dr. Ollins is able to closely monitor their progress
  • Visit the dentist every six months for a checkup and cleaning.
  • Avoid foods that can damage the appliance.
  • Maintain a healthy diet.
  • Following all maintenance and care recommendations and directions.
  • Keeping appliances, teeth, and gums clean by sticking to an excellent dental hygiene routine.  
  • Brushing and flossing thoroughly at least twice daily.

We want each tooth to have a precise location in the mouth where it can coexist with the lips, cheeks, tongue, and other teeth by the end of phase two. When this has been achieved, your child’s teeth will be able to function together properly. This will result in a beautiful, healthy smile and a mouth that works the way it is meant to— party time!

Teen smiling with braces

Like most things in life, there is no one size fits all option for orthodontics. Every patient is unique, so we treat their issues with a unique treatment plan. What is right for one child is not necessarily right for another. Ollins Orthodontics is a patient-centered practice, providing customized care for a top-notch orthodontic experience. With two experienced and efficient orthodontists, skilled staff, and our conveniently located office, we have everything your child needs for a happy, healthy smile. If you are in the Essex County area, and are interested in what two-phase orthodontic treatment could offer your child, get in touch with us today. We are here to get your child started on the path to a smile that is out this world!