Early Treatment (Phase I):
Phase I treatment is performed at an early age, usually around 7 - 11 years of age. It’s main purpose is to correct early problems such as a constricted (small) jaw, an improper bite, or crooked teeth. It often can eliminate the need for future jaw surgery or the removal of teeth. Phase I treatment often involves expanders (used to expand the upper or lower jaw), space maintainers, and/or braces. Treatment is typically short in duration, usually lasting only 6 - 18 months. Phase I treatment is meant to achieve limited objectives and is usually followed by Phase II treatment once more of the permanent teeth have erupted. A retainer or other appliance is used to hold the teeth in place until the next phase of treatment will take place.
Comprehensive Treatment (including Phase II):
Children who do not need early treatment will receive comprehensive treatment when they are ready—generally at age 9 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 and braces as well as rubberband wear. Comprehensive treatment can take between 18 - 36 months depending on the severity of the case. Patient compliance also plays a big factor in the 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
Surgical treatment will consist of full braces and will also include some type of jaw surgery to correct the jaw alignment. Such surgery is coordinated with an Oral Surgeon and will often take longer to complete than treatment without surgery. However, in cases where oral surgery is indicated, the results are much better if the surgery is performed than if the orthodontist tries to complete the case without the surgery.
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