How Two-Phase Treatment Can Change Your Smile

Timing is everything when it comes to your child’s smile. With a good game plan, your child can have a beautiful smile that lasts a lifetime. We know it can be confusing and stressful deciding on an orthodontic treatment for your child, but here at Thacker Orthodontics we make sure it is not! Most common dental issues can be detected before they have a chance to become more serious problems, simply by following the American Association of Orthodontists recommendation that all children have their first orthodontic consultation by age seven. The kind of early intervention Dr. Jim and Dr. MaryEvan have to offer reduces the overall need for more complex orthodontic treatment at a later age.


Just like how the best defense is a good offense, being proactive rather than reactive when it comes to orthodontic treatment can make all the difference. This is where two-phase treatment comes in. But what exactly is this, and more importantly, how does it benefit your child? Two-phase orthodontic treatment is a specialized process that combines straightening the teeth with bony physical, facial changes if needed. It consists of your child receiving orthodontic treatment in two separate phases, with a break in between.

The first phase of treatment usually begins while the child has a mix of their baby teeth and adult teeth, and the second phase then takes place once the child has most or all of their permanent teeth. Depending on the nature and severity of each specific case, braces or other orthodontic appliances may be used during the first phase of treatment.

Two-phase treatment plays an important role in maximizing the opportunity to give your child a healthy, functional, and beautiful smile that lasts a lifetime. The goals of two-phase treatment are:

To correct the alignment of the teeth, resulting in a straighter smile.
To position the teeth and jaws for more pleasant facial symmetry.
To ensure a proper, working relationship between the teeth and jaws.

boy with braces smiling


Once an experienced orthodontist like Dr. Jim or Dr. MaryEvan has completed their thorough examination of your child’s mouth, a recommendation may be made for two-phase treatment. The goal of this treatment is to create a better environment for your child’s permanent teeth to grow in. The first phase of treatment may be suggested to:

Guide the growth of the jaw bones that support the teeth.

Prevent a problem from developing.
Intercept a developing problem.  

Orthodontic treatment and a child’s growth complement each other well. Orthodontists are able to take advantage of normal childhood growth and development by timing the first phase of orthodontic treatment to the predictable stages of dental development. This provides the most potential for the correction and improvement of any suspected orthodontic issues early on.

If treatment is not started until after most growth has occurred, problems that would have been treated relatively easily in a growing child now require more intensive treatment like corrective surgery. Early treatment is effective for achieving lasting results for certain issues, and lessening the impact of others. Most patients will require a second phase of treatment in order to complete the tooth and jaw alignment started during the first phase of treatment— just like the name implies.


To understand how two-phase treatment could benefit your child, it is important to understand what happens with each phase, as well as in the resting period in between.

Phase one treatment is initiated to help the jaw develop in a way that will accommodate all of your child’s permanent teeth, as well as improving the way the upper and lower jaws fit together.

This method of treatment benefits patients in a number of ways. It improves their ability to bite, chew, or even digest their food more effectively. It reduces the risk of broken teeth, due to crowded, crooked teeth or malformed jaws. It even provides emotional benefits, like an increase in self-esteem and self-confidence, something that is always a welcome bonus to younger patients.  

The changes that result from first phase treatment can contribute to longer-term stability, meaning that the teeth stay where the orthodontist moves them. The second phase of treatment moves the teeth into their final, preferred positions.

Resting Period
The remaining permanent teeth are left alone to erupt during the resting phase. Dr. Jim and Dr. MaryEvan believe it is best to allow these permanent teeth some freedom of movement, and will may recommend specialized retainers during this time. A successful first phase will have created room for the permanent teeth to have a clear path to erupt in.

Phase Two
In the first phase, orthodontic records are made, a diagnosis is established, and a customized treatment plan is created for your child, and certain types of appliances may have been used to correct and realign the teeth and jaw. The second phase is where everything begins to come together! This phase begins once most or all of the permanent teeth have erupted, and requires braces on the teeth for a time. Once treatment is complete, retainers ensure your child’s straight new smile lasts a lifetime!

You can help your child achieve their two-phase treatment goals by:

  • Following Dr. Jim and Dr. MaryEvan’s recommendations and directions for maintenance and care.
  • Keeping appliances, teeth, and gums clean by sticking to an excellent dental hygiene routine, including brushing and flossing thoroughly at least twice daily.
  • Keeping scheduled appointments with Thacker Orthodontics so that progress is closely monitored.
  • Visiting the dentist every six months for a checkup and cleaning.
  • Avoiding any foods that can damage their appliances.
  • Maintaining a healthy diet.

Teenage Girl wearing helmet while resting on bicycle outdoors

There is no one size fits all solution for orthodontic treatment. Every patient we see has a unique problem that requires a unique treatment plan. What is right for one child will not necessarily be right for another. Here at Thacker Orthodontics, we are committed to providing customized care and a top-notch orthodontic experience. Dr. Jim and Dr. MaryEvan have years of dental and orthodontic experience, and will provide everything your child needs for a happy, healthy smile. If you are in the Cincinnati area and are interested in what two-phase orthodontic treatment could offer your child, get in touch with us today. We want your child to have the best possible smile, and all the added confidence that comes along with it!