It is important to understand that at the end of the first phase of treatment, the teeth are not in their final position. This will be accomplished in the corrective, second phase of treatment. Each tooth has an exact location in the mouth where it is in harmony with the lips, cheeks, jaw joints and other teeth. When this equilibrium is established, the teeth will function together properly. Here, they will remain healthy and look the most attractive. This is the goal of the second phase of treatment.
The second phase of treatment is initiated when most of the permanent teeth have erupted and usually requires braces on all teeth for approximately 18 months. In many cases, this is significantly less time than one comprehensive phase of treatment would have taken.
Comprehensive is an all-inclusive treatment that seeks to correct all dental and dentofacial orthopaedic problems. Comprehensive treatment usually begins anytime after approximately age 11 and lasts at least 15 months but the average is 21 months. Treatment modalities would include (full) braces or Invisalign. Retainers are given after this treatment and, with still-growing patients, continued growth is monitored through the years to ensure favorable growth. Even though an Orthodontist sets out to have "Comprehensive" treatment be one step, some growing patients exhibit unfavorable jaw growth after treatment or they are not compliant in their retainer wear, and a re-treatment becomes necessary.