A healthy, beautiful smile can be achieved at any age.
- Early Treatment
- Two-Phase Treatment
- Adolescent Treatment
- Adult Treatment
EARLY TREATMENT OPTIONS
Though an orthodontist can enhance a smile at any age, there is an optimal time period to begin treatment. The American Association of Orthodontists recommends that the initial orthodontic evaluation should occur at the first sign of orthodontic problems or no later than age 7. At this early age, orthodontic treatment may not be necessary, but vigilant examination can anticipate the most advantageous time to begin treatment.
What are the benefits of early orthodontic evaluation?
Early evaluation provides both timely detection of problems and greater opportunity for more effective treatment. Prudent intervention guides growth and development, preventing serious problems later. When orthodontic intervention is not necessary, an orthodontist can carefully monitor growth and development and begin treatment when it is ideal.
Why is age 7 considered the optimal time for screening?
By the age of 7, the first adult molars erupt, establishing the back bite. During this time, an orthodontist can evaluate front-to-back and side-to-side tooth relationships. For example, the presence of erupting incisors can indicate possible overbite, open bite, crowding or gummy smiles. Timely screening increases the chances for an incredible smile.
What are the advantages of interceptive treatment?
Some of the most direct results of interceptive treatment are:
- Creating room for crowded, erupting teeth
- Creating facial symmetry through influencing jaw growth
- Reducing the risk of trauma to protruding front teeth
- Preserving space for unerupted teeth
- Reducing the need for tooth removal
- Reducing treatment time with braces
TWO PHASE TREATMENT
What is Two-Phase treatment?
Two-phase treatment occurs when a patient is evaluated and needs intervention before starting regular orthodontic treatment, resulting in two separate treatment plans.
First phase of treatment
Phase I, early, or interceptive treatment is done while the jaws are still actively growing and a combination of primary and permanent teeth exist. The American Association of Orthodontists recommends that all children be screened by an orthodontist by age 7. This early screening allows for prevention and more successful correction of growth and developmental problems while a child’s bone structure is actively growing. Preventative and interceptive orthodontics are two major goals of our treatment. We believe in early orthodontic treatment to modify unfavorable growth patterns of the jaws early on to decrease the need for extracting teeth or having jaw surgery in the future. This would allow for healthier, more esthetic, and more functional results as adults. Also, a great smile during those forming years can lead to greater self-confidence and better socialization. Another common added benefit of Phase I treatment is less Phase II treatment time.
The following are some of the issues that warrant Early Treatment:
- Severe crowding
- Large overbite (Deep bite)
- Large overjet (Protrusion of front teeth or “Buck Teeth”)
- Open bite
- Jaws not growing coordinated
- Thumb sucking
- Tongue thrusting
- Recall Phase
This is a very important phase of monitoring the growth and development of the jaws. In this phase, the remaining permanent teeth are allowed to erupt. We will see your child every six months or annually until all permanent teeth are erupted. At this time we will evaluate the need for a second phase of braces. We will take annual i-CAT® 3D images to monitor the development and our doctors will discuss the findings with you. This service is complimentary to our existing first phase patients or to those new patients that did not need any first phase treatment.
Why a second phase of treatment?
At the end of phase I treatment, not all permanent teeth have erupted into their final positions. At that time it is not possible to predict the need for a second phase of treatment. Keep in mind that the goal of first phase therapy is not esthetic treatment, and typically, Phase II treatment is needed to achieve that. Our goal for your second phase orthodontic treatment is to give you correctly aligned teeth that provide ideal jaw function and a great smile! Patients who have undergone both Phase I and Phase II treatment are more likely to have lasting results.
This phase involves placing braces on all permanent teeth for about 18-24 months. Retainers are worn after this phase to maintain a healthy and beautiful smile for life.
ADOLESCENT TREATMENT OPTIONS
Between the ages of 11 and 15 most, if not all of the permanent teeth have erupted and your adolescent is ready to begin orthodontic treatment as needed. Crooked teeth and bad bites do not correct themselves, so this is the best time to seek orthodontic treatment since there is still growth remaining.
This is also a good time for orthodontic treatment because many children nowadays are interested in getting braces as way of “fitting in,” since most of their friends are also going through the same experience. At this young age the pressures of life, family, and work and the negative associations of braces are not present yet.
In addition, adolescents at this age are growing rapidly, and orthodontists can take advantage of these growth spurts to help change the bone structure, the bite and the teeth for better results. Also, the high metabolisms during these years helps shorten overall treatment time and reduce the discomfort of orthodontic treatment.
ADULT TREATMENT OPTIONS
Age is not a consideration when it comes to orthodontic treatment. Healthy teeth can be moved successfully at any age. About 25% of orthodontic patients today are adults. Tooth-colored braces and invisible orthodontics (Invisalign®) along with other developments in techniques have made adult orthodontics cosmetically acceptable and technically simple.
More adults are accepting orthodontic treatment these days, knowing that a beautiful smile is a healthier smile and looking great at any age may improve your personal, social, and professional life. Crooked teeth and bad bites can contribute to gum and bone loss, tooth decay, abnormal wear of the enamel, headaches and jaw joint (TMJ) pain.
Adult treatment may take longer since it is more difficult to move teeth in non-growing bone structure. Also, certain bite problems are impossible to fix with orthodontics alone, and jaw surgery may be required for ideal facial, skeletal, and bite results. After the initial application of braces, you will notice your braces, feel them, and be sore for about 3-5 days. Following your periodic orthodontic adjustments (tightening), you may experience some soreness also. In time, you will not notice your braces and the tenderness associated with adjustments will be minimal.
Our adult patients are the best patients. They want the treatment, they are highly committed, and at the end, they are so happy that they finally did it!