Orthodontic treatment broadly refers to different techniques for aligning the teeth and jaw to create a straighter smile and healthy bite. While patients often associate orthodontics with things like braces and Invisalign® aligners, this category of treatment actually encompasses a range of different stages and interventions. Dentists and orthodontists often divide orthodontics into two phases, depending on the age of the patient and the goals associated with treatment.
What is the Difference Between Phase 1 and Phase 2 Orthodontics?
Phase 1 orthodontic treatment is performed prior to the eruption of all permanent teeth, typically for children under the age of 10. Phase 1 interventions are designed to address early dental and airway issues, guide jaw growth, and create space for permanent teeth. Treatment often involves the use of oral appliances and space expanders, which promote positive development trends.
Phase 2 treatment is what people most commonly associate with orthodontics: the focus is generally on aligning permanent teeth using braces or Invisalign® clear aligners for a precise bite and enhanced aesthetics.
Both phases aim to improve oral health, function, and appearance.