Reasons why your child’s classmate may already be in treatment

Future orthodontic problems can be detected long before a child even has all of their permanent teeth. Depending on the type of dental issue, an orthodontist may recommend two-phase treatment. This means that treatment is done at two different times, often to take advantage of predictable stages of dental development and physical growth. In most cases, working with a child’s natural growth and development at different stages will ensure positive outcomes.

Here are six things parents should know about two-phase orthodontic treatment:


1. Two-phase orthodontic treatment is not best for all kids.

Many orthodontic problems can be treated in one phase of comprehensive treatment, however; there are a few exceptions depending on the child’s bite, jaw growth, and alignment.

2. Two-phase orthodontic treatment can be used to:

  • Help the jaws develop in a way that creates ample space for all permanent teeth, especially the permanent canines.
  • Reduce the potential need to pull permanent teeth in the future.
  • Treat issues in a growing child that may require corrective surgery if treatment occurs after growth.
  • Normalize the relationship of the upper jaw to the lower jaw, especially in the case of an underbite.
  • Interfere with prolonged sucking or abnormal swallowing habits.
  • Correct damaging pressure that can move teeth in the wrong directions and/or change the shape of the bone that supports teeth.
  • Reduce the risk of teeth being broken or knocked out by tucking in protruding upper front teeth.

3. Phase One of a two-phase orthodontic treatment begins when a child still has some baby teeth.

If an appliance is used in Phase One care, it could be a form of braces, a fixed appliance, or a removable appliance. These appliances can be placed on baby teeth with no issues. The type of appliance used depends on the needs of the individual patient. Some children may need to have baby teeth removed to clear a path for the permanent teeth to erupt.

4. Moving baby teeth is not done for the sake of their appearance.

While baby teeth can move during Phase One orthodontic treatment, their movement is part of the process to ensure sufficient space for permanent teeth. It is completely safe and effective to move baby teeth in many situations.

5. A resting period follows Phase One orthodontic treatment.

After the child completes their Phase One treatment, there is a waiting period that could last months to years for most patients as we watch their eruption and growth prior to them being ready for a second phase.

6. Phase Two typically begins when most or all of permanent teeth are in.

The goal of Phase Two treatment is to make sure teeth are in their proper places for good function, a healthy bite, and a pleasing appearance. For the best results, the American Association of Orthodontics recommends your child sees an orthodontist no later than age 7. If a dental issue is developing, the orthodontist can monitor growth and development to provide the most appropriate treatment at the most appropriate time. At Cooney Orthodontics, we cherish your time and your child’s dental health. We will never suggest a two-phase treatment unless it is necessary and valuable.


To learn more about top-tier orthodontic treatment in Upstate New York, contact Cooney Orthodontics or visit our website!