When early treatment is recommended, Dr. Stanley uses a two-phase program. This two-phase orthodontic treatment involves the diagnosis and correction of orthodontic problems in two separate stages to achieve the optimal results.
Phase One (early) treatment takes place during a child's younger active growth years (age 7-9 years.) before skeletal jaw problems are firmly established. Interceptive treatment plans are designed to guide and enhance the child's own natural growth to establish proper jaw size, and to correctly position the jaws in relationship to each other. A variety of orthodontic appliances will produce dentofacial orthopedics to improve the structural foundation and to create space for the larger erupting permanent teeth.
Following the completion of Phase One treatment, Dr. Stanley will schedule periodic observation visits to monitor the growth and dental development. Retainers will be used during this intermediate period to retain or hold the accomplished results from Phase One treatment and to help guide the permanent teeth into their proper position.
A second phase of orthodontic treatment will be necessary after the eruption of most or all of the permanent teeth (age 11-13 years). This final tooth alignment and detailing is accomplished with the use of full appliances such as braces or Invisalign to establish the optimal functional occlusion and smile esthetics.
The major advantage of Two-Phase Treatment is the opportunity to utilize the patient's "growth potential" to achieve the desired dentofacial orthopedic changes. The emphasis of Two-Phase Treatment is not to just "straighten crooked teeth" but to produce the best possible jaw (skeletal) relationship and to create the necessary space. Children should not wait until complete eruption of the permanent teeth prior to seeing an orthodontist. By 11-13 years of age, most facial growth is complete, placing limitations on what can be accomplished. Certain jaw and orthodontic problems are more readily treated at an earlier age when growth is more plentiful.