During a child’s rapid growth period, a first phase of treatment can help the jaw develop to accommodate all of the permanent teeth and improve the fit of the upper and lower jaw. Phase I treatment utilizes appliances that direct the growth relationship of the upper and lower jaw to establish a good foundation and provide adequate room for eruption of all permanent teeth, avoiding possible extractions down the road. A successful Phase I treatment plan creates room for permanent teeth to find an eruption path, otherwise, they may become impacted or severely displaced.
Monitoring progress is the key to the resting phase. In this phase, the remaining permanent teeth are left alone as they erupt. It is best to allow the existing permanent teeth some freedom of movement. In some cases, selective removal of certain primary (baby) teeth may be in the best interest of enhancing eruption during this resting phase. Therefore, periodic recall appointments for observation are necessary, usually on a six-month basis.
At the end of Phase I treatment, the teeth are not in their final position. This will be determined and accomplished in the second phase of treatment.
The second phase of treatment begins when all permanent teeth have erupted. The goal of the second phase of treatment is to make sure each tooth is positioned properly and in harmony with the lips, cheeks, tongue, and other teeth. When this is established, the teeth will function together properly. Phase II usually involves full upper and lower braces for an average of 18-24 months. Retainers are worn after this phase to ensure our patients retain their beautiful smile.