What is Phase I or ‘interceptive’ orthodontic treatment?
Phase I (Phase One) orthodontic treatment, also called ‘interceptive orthodontic treatment,’ refers to treatment that begins at an early age, and this ‘first phase of orthodontic treatment’ typically takes place when a young patient has both primary (‘baby’) teeth as well as some adult (‘permanent’) teeth present. Interceptive treatment plans can correct a dental developmental issue and/or prevent a current dental or jaw development problem from becoming more severe. It is not necessary that all young patients have early (Phase I) treatment, but, for certain children, it is a huge benefit.
Orthodontic appliances, retainer-like devices, or partial braces may be placed to prevent a problem from occurring, correct a current problem or help to modify your child’s growth and dental development. There are a number of problems concerning tooth alignment, crowding and spacing, gum or periodontal health, jaws and facial development that can be corrected with Phase I treatment. It is common, but not always necessary, that a second phase of treatment will be needed after this first phase. Typically, the second phase of treatment is of shorter duration, reflecting the benefit of early intervention.
When is Phase I treatment started?
Phase I early treatment typically begins between the ages of 6 and 10 years old. In fact, the American Association of Orthodontists (AAO) recommends that all children have an orthodontic evaluation by 7 years of age. Having an early consultation with our orthodontists is the best way to ensure that your child’s growth and dental development are optimized.
What are some indications Phase I treatment is needed?
Some of the more common reasons for Phase I treatment are dental cross-bites, skeletal cross-bites, under bites, excessively overlapping or deep bites, open bites (where the teeth in the front do not contact or overlap), jaw growth or jaws that are not in proportion to each other, severely protruding teeth, the presence of deleterious thumb, finger or tongue habits, clefts, or severe crowding or spacing of the teeth. Often early treatment turns severe problems that might require future jaw surgery into a more moderate problem that can be treated with braces or orthodontics alone at later date.
What is Phase II orthodontic treatment?
Phase II (Phase Two) treatment typically refers to the traditional orthodontic treatment that may follow a first (early) Phase I treatment. This usually involves placing braces on both the upper and lower teeth, once all the adult (‘permanent’) teeth have erupted.
Phase I usually does not correct all tooth and bite-related problems, therefore a second phase of braces is needed to finish aligning the teeth and bite. When Phase I treatment has been successfully completed, however, this second orthodontic treatment phase (Phase II) will be reduced significantly, reflecting the benefit of the Phase I early correction.
What is comprehensive (‘full’) orthodontic treatment?
Full treatment (also called ‘comprehensive orthodontic treatment’) usually involves placing upper and lower braces on all the teeth. Sometimes other appliances or additional treatment aids may also be utilized depending on a patient’s individual treatment needs. Full orthodontic treatment usually begins when all (or most) of the adult teeth are present, making it possible for orthodontists to fully correct the bite and align all the teeth.
What is limited orthodontic treatment?
Limited orthodontic treatment is partial orthodontic treatment, either partial braces on some teeth or only the upper or lower teeth, to address a ‘limited’ or localized issue. Just like the name implies, limited treatment only addresses a specific problem and is ‘limited’ to certain types of treatment.