MOST OF THE orthodontic procedures completed at Holmes & Palmer Orthodontics in Charleston, WV fall into two main categories: Phase 1 and Phase 2.
Phase 1 Orthodontics
Phase 1 orthodontics is the treatment of children aged 5 -12. Phase 1 is early intervention to reduce both the treatment time and cost of orthodontics. 80% of phase 1 treatment is completed before adult teeth are present, using natural growth to prevent crowding.
The success of Phase 1 treatment depends upon the cooperation of your child, with younger children often being more willing to wear appliances. Early orthodontic treatment creates beautiful smiles and healthy jaws, prevents snoring and speech problems, and removes the need for future extractions of permanent teeth.
Common Phase 1 Treatments
One of the most noticeable differences between Phase 1 and Phase 2 orthodontics is that Phase 1 is less focused on actual braces. Those typically come later, if they are still needed. Some of the treatments commonly used in Phase 1 include:
- Upper jaw expansion to eliminate a crossbite
- Expansion of one or both jaws to create more room for adult teeth
- Early extraction of specific baby teeth to help adult teeth come in properly
- Keeping space open for permanent teeth after premature loss of a baby tooth
- Reduction of upper front teeth protrusion to protect from trauma
Phase 2 Orthodontics
Phase 2 Orthodontics is the treatment of adults and children 12 and older. Phase 2 straightens teeth using orthodontic braces or Invisalign. This process is most successful when it immediately follows Phase 1, and generally takes 1 to 2 years.
The Pieces of the Braces Puzzle
The different parts of your braces all contribute to the orthodontic treatment process in specific ways. If your treatment involves Invisalign, you will advance through a series of custom-made aligner trays that each bring your teeth closer to the final position. Invisalign are a great option for keeping your treatment under the radar, but they aren’t the best solution for all orthodontic problems.
If we recommend traditional braces for your treatment, you might also have additional appliances tailored to your specific treatment plan, but everyone with traditional braces has brackets and archwires, tied together with o-rings (also called bands or ligatures).
The Biology Of Shifting Dental Alignment
So what’s actually happening on the cellular level during orthodontic treatment? Specialized cells called osteoclasts and osteoblasts respond to the pressure around the periodontal membrane (the pocket of gum tissue connecting the tooth’s root to the jaw bone). Osteoclasts break down the bone tissue so that the tooth can move, while osteoblasts gradually form new bone tissue behind it. So it’s not just your teeth moving into position; your jaw bones are reshaping themselves too!
Beyond Phase 2 Orthodontic Treatment
Your teeth still remember where they used to be for a while after the braces come off, which is why it’s so important for you to remember to wear your retainers as directed. Retainers will help your teeth get used to their new position, and they’ll prevent unrelated shifting that happens to most people naturally over the course of time.
Want To Learn More About Your Orthodontic Treatment?
If you have any questions about how your braces are working to give you that properly aligned, more functional smile you’ve always wanted, just give us a call, or ask us about it at your next appointment. We want all of our patients to have the information they need to feel confident in their treatment! Check out this map to find our practice or visit our business site for more information.