When most people think of orthodontic treatment, they think about braces or Invisalign that you simply start and finish, all with dazzling results. Now don’t get us wrong, that is certainly an outcome that we hope for all our patients. But truthfully, there can sometimes be some challenges to overcome before your smile lights up the room.
One of the ways to make orthodontic treatment easier and healthier is by starting young with a two-phase treatment. This method of caring for your smile can begin as early as seven years old before you’ve even lost all your baby teeth! At Varallo Orthodontics we often talk to parents of young children about their treatment options and how to work with their growing bones and bodies to create the healthiest and most beautiful smiles later!
What Exactly Is Two-Phase Treatment?
Two-phase treatment is exactly what it sounds like–a process of orthodontics that happens in two phases. The first phase is all about supporting healthy jaw and bone growth so that there’s plenty of space for teeth to grow and for the bite to be aligned. This part of the treatment should take place when a child is young and still growing and developing, starting around seven years old.
The second phase happens later, either as a pre-teen, teenager, or adult as the timeline allows. Phase two is a regular orthodontic treatment that focuses on aligning teeth for a straight smile. This phase usually is much easier to accomplish after phase one has set the mouth and jaw up for success!
There are a few general goals that we like to think about when discussing two-phase treatment. First, we want to build a healthy foundation for your child’s teeth and jaw. Second, we want to position the jaw for improved facial symmetry. And finally, we want to help align the teeth for a straight, beautiful smile. Because of the extreme effectiveness of two-phase treatment, we are almost always able to accomplish these goals!
Why Might My Child Benefit from Two-Phase Treatment?
There are a few reasons why a child might benefit from two-stage treatment, and it’s almost always based on their unique genetics and facial structure. Some children naturally develop healthy jaw alignment, and others simply don’t. Those who need some help are the best candidates for two-step treatment.
Within this treatment framework, there are three categories:
Preventative interventions happen when Dr. Varallo evaluates your child’s growing jaw and sees the potential for problems happening in the future. An interceptive intervention is when your child is already showing some unhealthy bite or jaw structure. And growth modification is just the process when we create a new direction for the bones to make space for later on.
Understanding How Each Phase Works
Once Dr. Varallo has examined your child, determined that they need two-phase treatment, and figured out which interventions are necessary, treatment can finally begin. This will vary based on your child’s needs, but it often includes Invisalign First, braces, retainers, palatal expanders, spacers, and/or rubber bands. There are so many options, and they may change throughout the treatment as well. This can last for a few months or even years depending on what is needed, and you will be in our office often to check in and make sure that things are progressing smoothly.
The resting period happens after phase one is complete and Dr. Varallo has removed all of the devices. This allows time and space for more natural development to occur, and your child will probably finish losing their baby teeth and grow in most of their adult teeth during this time. You will still be coming into the office every once in a while so that our team can keep track of their progress.
Once Dr. Varallo gives the okay, that last phase can finally begin! This phase will be a straightforward orthodontic treatment from one of our popular treatment options like braces, clear braces, or clear aligners. It will be necessary to help your child stay on track with their treatment by following all the suggestions and recommendations, as well as keeping their teeth super clean!
Phase two may last a few months or a few years, again based on your child’s unique needs. But at the end of this treatment, they should be all done with orthodontics! It’s always an exciting moment to see your kid finish up a long and successful treatment, and have beautiful, straight teeth to show for it.
Explore Treatment Options at Varallo Orthodontics
If the time is right for you to start exploring treatment options with your child, then consider Varallo Orthodontics as your partner in the process! We are open to patients in Burlington, Arlington, and the surrounding areas, so don’t hesitate to give us a call!