Correcting Orthodontic Problems Early in Children
Many parents are concerned about the timing of their child’s orthodontic treatment. Will my child require early orthodontic treatment? How will this preliminary treatment affect my child later? We hear questions like this often, and we are here to help you find the answers.
Children should visit an orthodontist as young as 7, according to the recommendations of the American Association of Orthodontists. At this age, an orthodontist should be able to determine whether your child will require orthodontics in the future.
Phase-one orthodontic treatment, also frequently called early treatment, generally starts when the patient is 8 or 9 years old. The second phase begins approximately two to three years later. Phase-one treatment aims to fix improper jaw growth and alleviate specific bite issues, such as crossbites or underbites. This early orthodontic care ensures the patient’s mouth has adequate space for their permanent teeth to erupt. Phase-one treatment often reduces the need for tooth extraction down the road.
Here are some signals that your child might need early orthodontic treatment:
- He loses his baby teeth at irregular times.
- The average child begins losing teeth at age 5, and all his permanent teeth should erupt by age 13.
- He sucks his thumb after he turns five.
- He is seven or eight and his front teeth are overcrowded.
- He has trouble chewing or biting into food. He has problems speaking or properly pronouncing certain words.
- He breathes through his mouth instead of his nose.
- His upper and lower teeth jut out away from each other.
- His teeth do not fit together properly or at all.
- His jaw moves out of place when he opens or shuts his mouth.
Why does my child have orthodontic problems, and how will phase-one treatment help?
There are a few reasons why your child may have orthodontic issues. Your child may have suffered an injury to the head or mouth that interfered with his tooth alignment. He may have lost primary teeth too early or too late, and this irregular growth caused problems. Parents with improper bites can pass those bites along to their children, and frequent thumb-sucking can also complicate orthodontic problems. Whether your child has an irregular bite, jutting teeth, crowded teeth, gapped teeth or a problematic jaw position, our orthodontists can help correct the function and appearance of his or her smile.
By the time your child turns 13, he will most likely have shed all his primary teeth. At the end of his teens, the bones in his jaw solidify and reach their full growth expression. For adults who want straighter teeth, orthodontic care can be time consuming and may require oral surgery or the removal of certain teeth. Children who have orthodontic care often would not require orthodontics when they get older, and they also reduce their chances of needing oral surgery or teeth removed.
If your dentist has suggested your child see an orthodontist, we can gladly set up a complimentary consultation with you and your child. If your child is around seven or eight and is experiencing one or more of the signs listed above, we would love to evaluate his need for orthodontic care. During your child’s first visit, our team will examine his tooth movement and discuss possible orthodontic routes to improve and enhance your child’s natural beauty.
What are the benefits of two-phase orthodontic care?
With two-phase orthodontics, doctors can integrate tooth alignment with physical and facial modifications. Keeping both of these goals in mind amplifies the results to create beautiful, functional and thriving smiles that will last a lifetime.
What will happen if I wait until later to receive orthodontic treatment?
Delaying your orthodontic treatment could possibly produce a more extreme need for orthodontics in the future. Waiting until later will not be as effective, and therefore your smile will not be as stunning as it will if you choose to start treatment at the most opportune time. Treating your smile early will ensure you have a gorgeous, healthy smile for the rest of your life.
Phase-one lays the groundwork for your long-lasting, beautifully aligned smile.
This first phase is important because it focuses on the growth and improvement of your jaw. The most ideal jaw position allows adequate room for all of your permanent teeth, and it betters the relationship between your top and bottom jaw. As children grow, dentists and orthodontists may notice early symptoms of improper jaw alignment. Sometimes we see upper jaws that grow too quickly, and other times we notice jaws that are not as wide as they should be. Children who are 6 or older and show these signs may require early orthodontic treatment. Kids with cramped front teeth may also benefit from early orthodontic care, which can help prevent future tooth extraction.
Helping your children take advantage of early orthodontic care can save them from lots of trouble in the future. If their treatment is delayed, they may need oral surgery later to reposition their jaws, and they may also need permanent teeth pulled to make room for their teeth to properly align themselves. The benefits to early orthodontic treatment are numerous and well worth the effort.
Your child’s orthodontist will use as much information as possible to determine the best course of action for his smile. Our team keeps extensive records that help us monitor your child’s progress. Orthodontic records include X-rays, tooth molds, images and the different appliances used to straighten your child’s teeth. We will also carefully record the length of his treatment and the prevalence of his orthodontic appointments. These records will help us decide if early treatment is recommended.
Enjoying the Period of Rest
After phase-one is complete, we leave your child’s mouth alone while the rest of his permanent teeth come through the gums. We may create a custom retainer for your child, though we often leave this out if the retainer will inhibit the growth of permanent teeth. Giving the newly erupted permanent teeth room to grow is often the ideal course of action. Phase-one has given your child’s mouth room for his remaining permanent teeth to come into place. If we had not exercised phase-one, your child’s permanent teeth may have grown in crooked or been inhibited from eruption.
The rest period also allows us to observe the patient’s tooth growth and progression. The teeth are still coming in, and they have not reached their ideal positions yet. The teeth will gradually move to their final positions during phase-two. Your orthodontist may suggest extracting certain primary teeth so the permanent teeth have the best chance of erupting properly. We generally set orthodontic appointments for our resting period patients every six months to supervise the progress.
Proper alignment enhances your oral health and your appearance.
In phase-two, we determine the ideal position of each tooth to create perfect harmony. When every tooth is in its most ideal position, the teeth, lips, cheeks and tongue function perfectly and look amazing. This balance is delicate to create, and we generally use braces on the top and bottom teeth to achieve flawless results.
We took careful orthodontic records at the start of your treatment to identify your orthodontic problems. Then we created a treatment plan unique to your oral health. During phase-one, we employed special tools and appliances to bring your teeth and jaws into alignment. We can start phase-two once all the permanent teeth are through the gums. This phase generally lasts 24 months, and most patients wear full braces during this time. Once the braces are removed, we provide retainers to keep your teeth in perfect harmony for life.
What is it?
Invisalign® offers a cutting-edge approach to orthodontics by using a series of custom-made, invisible aligners. Using 3-D computer imaging, each aligner is specific to your teeth and gradually and gently shift your teeth into place. The best part about the whole process is that most people would not even know you are wearing the aligners. So you can smile with confidence, both during and after your treatment.
Why Would I Want it?
There are no metal brackets or wires to tighten. The clear aligners are virtually invisible to other people so no one will notice you are wearing the aligners. The aligners are also removable, which means you can eat what you want, brush your teeth with ease and floss with no problems. With the complete, virtual treatment plan, you can see the anticipated results before even starting your treatment. Since you have a series of aligners instead of metal wires and brackets, you actually need to go to our office less often to get adjustments.
How does it work?
Using modern 3-D imaging technology, a custom set of aligners is made for you. Every two weeks, you switch to a new aligner. As you switch aligners, your teeth gradually and comfortably shift, resulting in a beautiful smile. Your doctor will have you come into the office every six weeks to confirm the progress of your treatment. On average, you will be in treatment for 9 – 15 months and wear 18 – 30 different aligners. However, actual treatment times will depend on your particular case.
We are pleased to offer our patients the Damon® System. These self-ligating braces allow your teeth to move more comfortably and easily than traditional braces. With the help of this appliance, achieving your perfect smile can be faster and easier than you ever thought possible!
Better Results in Less Time
With Damon® braces, we can achieve a terrific end result and finish your treatment faster. Depending upon your specific case, this can translate to a beautiful smile months sooner than with traditional braces. After analyzing your specific needs, we will be able to provide you with a treatment plan that will have you smiling as soon as possible.
Damon® braces are very precise and effective. With this system, we can reduce the need for many of the time-consuming, complicated procedures that are used with traditional braces.
Fewer Visits to the Office
Because Damon®braces eliminate the need for elastic ties, fewer adjustments are required. As a result, your appointments can be spaced out further, early in treatment, and will take less time.
Due to the unique design, we can move your teeth into their correct positions with greater comfort than traditional braces. Also, Damon braces are aesthetic, comfortable, and easy to keep clean.