When it comes to caring for your family, you deserve nothing but the absolute best! And that’s where our family comes in! At Hunter Family Orthodontics, we treat adults, teens, and children by crafting the best and most beautiful smiles possible. For some kids, this means doing their treatment in two phases.
If you’re a parent and you haven’t heard of two-phase treatment, then we want to walk you through it to help you understand just how valuable it can be for both you and your child. Dr. Hunter is an expert at finding treatment plans that not only create outstanding results but actually prevent problems before they even start! Let’s learn more about two-phase treatment together.
What Is Two-Phase Treatment?
You may have guessed from the name, but two-phase treatment means splitting up your child’s treatment into two different parts. This is unique to other kinds of orthodontics for adults that usually starts after all of their adult teeth have grown in and their body has finished growing. When working with kids, we try to work with the advantage of their growing bones to do some preventative work, then we will take a break for a few years, and later return to do the final precision work to get a super straight and healthy smile!
Some of the main goals of two-phase treatment are to build a healthy foundation for your child’s teeth and jaw. We also aim to create alignment for a straight and beautiful smile in the future and to get their jaw into a position that will improve their bite and facial symmetry as they age. This might sound like a lot of work, and sometimes it can be effortful depending on your child’s unique needs. But we’re here to tell you that it’s worth it to ensure your kids have happy and healthy smiles as they grow!
Why Might My Child Benefit from Two-Phase Treatment?
One of the first things you should understand about two-phase treatments is that it is a part of our bespoke treatment plans at Hunter Family Orthodontics. We know that each smile is completely unique, and we only implement a treatment plan if we see it as completely necessary. This means that not every child will need two-phase treatment, but those that do will see huge benefits from getting early interventions.
Speaking of interventions, there are three main reasons that your child might benefit from two-phase treatment. One is preventative intervention, which is when Dr. Hunter sees the pattern of growth for your child’s teeth and jaw and implements a plan to prevent problems from developing later on. Another is interceptive intervention, where the doctor notices that problems are already starting to develop, so they start treatment to fix and mitigate those problems before they get worse. And growth modification is an intervention where it creates the perfect environment for your child’s mouth to grow into the healthy size and shape that it needs for future alignment.
Again, depending on your child’s unique needs, one of these three might be the best approach for Dr. Hunter to take. Once he has thoroughly assessed their growth patterns, he will select a treatment plan to get you started on phase one!
Understanding How Each Phase Works
Now that you understand why two-phase treatment is sometimes necessary, let’s walk through each phase and how it is a part of the process of creating an aligned smile for your child!
Once the assessment is complete and Dr. Hunter has determined either a preventative, interceptive, or growth modification intervention, now is when the devices come on. Often this will be braces or retainers paired with other devices like rubber bands, spacers, palatal expanders, headgear, or whatever other devices Dr. Hunter sees fit.
This phase may last for a few months up to a couple of years as their teeth and mouth create space for future tooth and jaw growth, making space and alignment for all the adult teeth to come later. You will need to be sure that your kid is in our office frequently for their regular appointments where the team will determine if they are advancing as expected, and tweaking their treatment plan along to way to ensure progress.
Once their smiles are fully prepped and in the best trajectory for healthy results, Dr. Hunter will remove all devices and allow their mouth to take a break for a while to allow for natural growth. During this time they won’t need to deal with devices or adjustments, but can instead just enjoy being a kid and allowing the natural progression to happen on its own.
They will likely finish losing all their baby teeth, and see most of the adult teeth grow in as well. This is a big developmental stage and can often last until right around puberty, or just before. Throughout this period you will be bringing your child in for semi-regular check-ups so that our team can track their progress and decide when they are ready for phase two.
Once the doctor has deemed them ready, phase two will begin with normal alignment treatments. This usually means another round of braces or retainers that will go on all of their teeth. This is doing the finishing work of aligning and straightening of teeth, and won’t involve too much effort with the jaw since that was mostly completed during phase one! Phase two can usually last for a few months or years depending on their treatment and needs, and once their smile is completely aligned, they will wrap up all treatments and be done with orthodontics! This usually happens in their early to mid-teenage years!
Explore Treatment Options at Hunter Family Orthodontics
If you and your child are ready to get started on a treatment plan, then don’t hesitate to call Hunter Family Orthodontics to set up a free consultation appointment! At no cost to you, you will learn all about which treatments will work best for your child and make it easy to get started once you are ready. Our incredible team in The Woodlands is ready to greet you!