Phase I and Phase II Treatment

Kids smilingPhase I, or early interceptive treatment, is orthodontic treatment (i.e. expansion, active retainer or partial braces) that is done before all of the permanent teeth have erupted, and often occurs between the ages of six and ten. Phase I treatment is recommended by Dr. Yoshikane when there is a moderate or severe orthodontic problem that should not wait until later to be treated. Dr. Yoshikane is very conservative and does not recommend Phase I treatment unless she can make a significant difference in her patient's outcome by doing it. We wait until treatment that is efficient and economical can be delivered. We wait until we can do the best care, at the best time, for the best value. If treatment should not be delayed, Dr. Yoshikane will recommend Phase I treatment.

The goal of Phase I Treatment is to develop the child's jaws to make room for the future eruption of permanent teeth and to improve the relationship of the upper and lower jaws. An upper or lower jaw that is growing too much or not enough can benefit from this early orthodontic treatment. This early correction can often prevent dental trauma, later removal of permanent teeth or even jaw surgery. Leaving a severe condition untreated until all permanent teeth erupt could result in a problem too severe to correct with braces alone. The treatment time for Phase I treatment is usually between 9-18 months. After this, our patients wear retainers and are checked every four to six months while waiting for the remaining permanent teeth to erupt.

Later, when most of the permanent teeth have erupted (usually between the ages of eleven and thirteen), Phase II treatment will be recommended.

The goal of Phase II Treatment is to position all the permanent teeth to maximize their appearance and function. This is best accomplished with full braces or Invisalign and is usually between 12-18 months long. Due to the improvements made in Phase I Treatment, Phase II Treatment requires less patient participation (no headgear and less rubber bands), often eliminates extraction of permanent teeth and reduces the time spent in full braces. This is especially important for patients as they enter their teenage years!

Potential Benefits of Phase I Treatment:

  • influence jaw growth in a positive manner
  • improve the width of the dental arches
  • reduce the need to extract permanent teeth
  • reduce or eliminate the need for jaw surgery
  • lower the risk of trauma to protruded front teeth
  • correct harmful oral habits
  • improve esthetics and self-esteem
  • simplify and shorten treatment time for definitive orthodontic treatment (phase II)
  • increase stability of final treatment results
  • reduce likelihood of impacted permanent teeth
  • improve speech development
  • improve position of first molars
  • guide permanent teeth into more favorable positions
  • improve lip competence
  • preserve or gain space for erupting teeth
  • improve compliance before the busy teenage years