Tuesday, October 16, 2012

Is Phase II always necessary after Phase I?

Because orthodontic care is not a “one size fits all” approach, not all patients need or will benefit from a two-phase orthodontic treatment.  Each patient has a unique problem that requires an unique, individualized treatment plan.  In fact, most children do not need Phase I orthodontic treatment and can actually wait until most or all permanent teeth are present.

When early orthodontic intervention is not necessary, careful monitoring of growth, development and observation of the eruption of the adult permanent teeth will allow me to make the call of when treatment start is ideal to obtain the best bite and smile possible in the timeliest manner.

After the completion of Phase I orthodontic treatment, usually a period of retention of the obtained results and observation will follow.  If no long-term risks are associated with not continuing with Phase II treatment, the orthodontist will make it optional and elective for the parents of a child who just underwent Phase I orthodontic treatment.  While this is not typical, it is quite possible.

For some kids that need Phase I orthodontic treatment, however, the problems that are being addressed are extensive, and full correction may not be attained until treatment moves on to Phase II.  The most common problems that usually do require two-phase orthodontic treatment are severe crowding being treated without extraction of permanent teeth, “underbites” and severe “overbites.”