Early Treatment (Phase I):
Phase I treatment is performed at an early age, usually around 7 - 10 years of age. It's main purpose is to correct early problems such as a constricted (small) jaw, an improper bite, or crooked teeth. If often can eliminate the need for future jaw surgery or the removal of permanent teeth. Phase I treatment often involves expanders,(used to expand the upper jaw), space maintainers, and a partial set of braces. Treatment is typically short in duration, usually lasting only 12-18 months. Phase I treatment is meant to achieve limited objectives and is usually followed by Phase II treatment once most of the permanent teeth have erupted> A retainer is often used to hold the teeth in place until time for the next phase of treatment.
Comprehensive Treatment (including Phase II):
Children who do not need early treatment will recei1ve comprehensive treatment when they are ready -- generally at age 11 or older. This is also the age when children who had Phase I treatment usually begin Phase II treatment. Comprehensive treatment for both children and adults can also include expanders, braces, rubberband wear, Herbst appliance and other adjuncts. Comprehensive treatment can take between 18-36 months depending on the severity of the case. Patient compliance plays a big factor in the required time of completion.
Limited treatment usually consists of braces being used to accomplish a limited objective. Treatment time will vary depending on the type of treatment desired such as preparation for bridges or implant, closing spaces, etc.
Surgical/Orthodontic treatment will require a full set of braces and will also include some type of jaw surgery to correct the most severe jaw alignment problems. Treatment is coordinated with an Oral Surgeon who does the surgical portion of the correction which can not be achieved by orthodontic alone.
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