When people think about orthodontics, they usually envision a mouth full of metal. While braces are part of orthodontic treatment, there are other phases as well. Depending on the case, you or a loved one may have several phases of treatment. To determine the right steps for your particular case, the orthodontist will perform a complete evaluation. Children should visit an orthodontist by age seven for a thorough assessment because some problems respond better before growth stops.
Usually lasting 6 to 18 months, Phase One orthodontics involves children between the ages of 7 and 10. During this period, the primary goal is to address the position of the jawbone to prevent issues such as large overbites, cross bites, or facial asymmetries. Because this involves movement of underlying bone structure, Phase One is most successful for children who haven’t finished growing.
Most people are familiar with Phase Two treatment, which involves actual placement of braces on the permanent teeth to move them into proper alignment. Usually Phase Two occurs after a child stops developing. When adults decide on orthodontic treatment, it typically falls into this category. Though metal braces used to be the only option for Phase Two, ceramic brackets, lingual braces, and clear aligners enable patients to select from other methods of treatment.
Once you finish with the braces, your orthodontist will take impressions for your retainers. These appliances will keep your teeth from shifting back into the old position. Initially, you will the retainers for almost 24 hours a day, but the time will be reduced as your orthodontist monitors your progress.