Phase 1 & Phase 2
During the initial complimentary orthodontic evaluation, Dr. Cranford may determine that treatment is not necessary until all the permanent teeth have finished erupting. As a result, we like to maintain our relationship with you and your child at regular six-month intervals for continued complimentary evaluations to ensure that dental development and eruption are proceeding normally.
However, we may discover findings that need to be addressed at an earlier age such as certain jaw discrepancies, insufficient room for eruption of the permanent teeth and tongue thrust/thumb-sucking habits. In these instances, since a number of primary teeth may still be present, treatment will need to be divided into two separate phases. Choosing to delay treatment in these cases may lead to dental extractions and jaw surgery to correct the conditions at a later age.
The first phase, or Phase I, will entail correcting these specific jaw-growth discrepancies or space deficiencies in combination with partial braces on the permanent incisors to begin addressing any cosmetic issues. Dr. Cranford will provide extensive information and allow you to view animations from our 3D video library that illustrate your child’s needs, so you don’t feel that your child is receiving unnecessary treatment. Fees for Phase I are considerably less than for comprehensive treatment and, on average, this phase will last about 12-18 months. After addressing the relevant issues, retainers will be provided until your child is ready for the second phase of treatment.
Patients and parents often assume that Phase I will correct all of the orthodontic problems, and that a second phase will not be necessary. It is important to realize that Phase I may improve the cosmetic appearance of the front teeth but will not ensure that the bite is correct. Between Phase I and Phase II, during what we call the Observation Phase, we will monitor the eruption of any remaining permanent teeth. It is impossible for any orthodontist to determine in advance whether the remaining teeth will come in perfectly, so we make sure to inform our patients and their parents that a second phase is almost always inevitable.
Although some growth discrepancies such as narrow palates and deficient upper facial bones are best addressed as soon as they are detected at age 7, research has found that others such as deficient lower jaws are treated most effectively at a slightly later stage (age 10), during a major growth spurt. Phase II treatment usually occurs a number of years later after Phase I treatment. Usually, we wait for the remaining permanent teeth to erupt, including second molars, before beginning Phase II. Phase II treatment entails placing braces on all permanent teeth for a period of 12-24 months, to achieve the optimal final result.
At Cranford Orthodontics, we want to earn your trust. We want you to know that we are making the most ethical treatment recommendations and providing the best care available, while being highly sensitive to the needs of your budget.