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Did you know… All children should be seen by an orthodontist at age 7
Dr. Don’s Treatment Philosophy for Kids: Use the least amount of intervention necessary to achieve the best outcome. The American Association of Orthodontists recommends that all children have an orthodontic screening no later than age 7, or earlier if there are indications of a problem. A timely screening can lead to significant benefits, including
- Regulation of the width of the upper and lower dental arches
- Gaining space for permanent teeth to erupt properly
- Avoiding the need for extractions of permanent teeth
- Reducing chance of impacted permanent teeth
- Correcting thumb-sucking and other habits that can cause tooth and jaw problems
- Eliminating abnormal swallowing or speech problems
- Less involved treatment
- Monitoring your child’s dental and skeletal development
Watch this video to better understand bite problems seen in children, and why they should have an orthodontic consultation at age 7.
By age 7, with the eruption of the first molars, your child’s bite is becoming established. This is the best age for Dr. Don to evaluate your child’s bite and jaw relationships. Also at this age, incisors have begun to erupt so that alignment problems and facial asymmetries can be detected. However, not all children need treatment at this early age. Dr. Don will help monitor your child’s development with complimentary visits every 6-12 months, depending on the specifics of your child’s bite. But don’t be surprised if your child wants to come by more often! We love kids and kids love our kid friendly orthodontic office.
The types of problems we can address include:
- Deep bite – Can trap the lower jaw and limit its growth.
- Open bite – May be an indication of a habit such as thumb sucking or a deviation in growth
- Protrusion of upper teeth – Highly susceptible to trauma.
- Crossbite – Can cause the patient to hold the lower jaw in an unusual position, leading to asymmetric growth. If treated early, growth can resume normally, but without treatment, the bite will be much more difficult to treat.
- Crowded teeth – Widening the upper jaw will reduce the need to extract teeth, but this can only be accomplished while your child is still growing.
- Other conditions –Mouth breathing, nasal breathing, tongue thrust, tooth grinding, and thumb sucking
Treatment for children may be broken into phases.
Phase I Treatment
The goal of first phase treatment is to save space in the dental arches for all permanent teeth to erupt and to ensure that the upper and lower jaws relate properly to each other. The type of treatment your child will need will be determined by his or her orthodontic problem. The severity of the problem will determine the type of appliances to be used and the length of time treatment will take. Left untreated, some conditions may not be treatable later with dental braces alone and can result in…
- Removal of permanent teeth
- Impacted teeth
- Severe displacements of teeth
- Orthodontic Jaw surgery
Dr. Don uses the newest technology and mechanics to reduce the need for teeth extractions. However, each patient is unique and certain patients do not have enough room in their mouth for all of their teeth. In cases where teeth extractions cannot be avoided, Dr. Don will help coordinate tooth eruption and teeth extractions to help reduce the amount of crowding.
In Between Phases I and II
Between the first and second phase treatment, retainers are used to maintain the results and reduce relapse. During the rest period, we will continue to monitor the eruption of the permanent teeth. At this stage, there are as many as 16 permanent teeth that have not come in, making your child’s “check eruption” appointments extremely important.
Phase II Treatment
The goal of second phase treatment is teeth straightening of the permanent teeth and establish an optimal bite. The severity of the case and patient compliance will determine the length of orthodontic treatment. Second phase orthodontic treatments normally involve the use of dental braces and usually takes roughly 12 to 18 months. Regardless of the type of orthodontic treatments that are necessary to ensure a healthy smile for your child, Dr. Don will work with you and make sure that both you and your child understand every step of his or her orthodontic treatment. Call or e-mail us to schedule an appointment for a complimentary examination. You’ll enter smiling and leave laughing when you have an appointment with Dr. Don and his caring, fun loving team.