In this series we will answer many of the questions we hear when working with patients in our offices. I have heard more than once from my own family and friends, “I don’t want to do braces twice for my child. I am just going to wait until all of their adult teeth are in.”
The American Association of Orthodontics recommends all children have an orthodontic exam at about age 7.
Orthodontics is about more than just straight teeth. The development of the jaws and bones of the sinuses and face are all evaluated during an orthodontic examination. Your orthodontist has special training in spotting possible developmental problems before it is too late for treatments that are less complicated and less invasive.
Some of these interventions may not even include braces and could be as simple as:
Once again, the tongue is a very strong muscle, if a developing child does not swallow in the correct way, it can cause the bones to permanently be malformed. The same is true for a thumb habit, or even sucking in the lower lip consistently. These habits are easier to retrain the younger the patient is and can prevent multiple issues that are difficult to correct after puberty.
Have you ever bought jeans for your child and 6 months later nothing fits? These extreme growth spurts are the absolute best developmental event when making orthodontic changes. If we have the chance to guide growth spurts to our advantage, we can save time and money, and maximize the positive results! This means evaluating a patient for months and sometimes even years without treatment to catch them during that “sweet spot”.
Another great reason to have children seen early for an exam is they still have many baby teeth. If crowding is an issue, we can save space for the future by controlling which teeth come out first and in what order.
It is called guided eruption and it allows the permanent teeth to come in closer to their final position, helping with long term stability and straighter adult teeth without drastic intervention. This also can prevent costly impacted teeth by creating a “path of least resistance” for a permanent tooth that has lost its way to be redirected. Teeth that are on the wrong trajectory can damage other healthy teeth and often become stuck requiring surgery.
The upper jaw is actually a few different bones with connections called sutures between them. Before puberty, these sutures are soft and pliable, making them easy to manipulate. Waiting until after puberty can limit our ability to make room for all of the teeth. After puberty when the sutures fuse, we can artificially open them again with jaw surgery, but we always try to avoid surgery if possible. Early Treatment (Phase 1 Treatment) can usually allow us to do so.
The roof of the mouth is also the floor of the sinus. If normal breathing through the nose is obstructed for any reason, children may breathe primarily through their mouth. This can be a problem for the development of the face and jaws.
The tongue is a large powerful muscle and it is actually responsible for helping to develop the width of the jaws, palate, and guide tooth eruption. Missing an opportunity to correct breathing isuees can result in malformations that can only be corrected with surgery in adulthood.
So, as you can see, there are many treatment options that do not even require braces for young children. This is why we offer a free consultation to inform you of your options. Call and schedule one today for your child. Stay tuned for more in this Blog series-WHY?
It is all about convenience for our patients. Our goal is to make your experience as hassle free as possible. Most full orthodontic treatment takes between 12-24 months. Although typically you only need an appointment every 6 to 8 weeks or so, we understand this can be quite a commitment. Virtual Appointments are perfect for college students, professionals who travel, or even busy parents with a schedule to keep.
You must always make some of your appointments in office, but we can cut these trips down with virtual appointments. Orthodontic treatment has changed much. Long acting arch wires and computer driven aligner treatments have transformed the process. Yet, this is still a medical procedure and it is imperative to have a doctor driven treatment plan with full observation and oversight by a professional. Computers and data driven treatment plans are a fantastic tool in the right hands, but we are talking about a physiological human body here, they do not all respond the same. Virtual appointments does not mean cookie cutter treatment driven by technology alone.
While we do not fully diagnose cases virtually, we can do some monitoring visits virtually and save you some in office traffic time.
For patients who are interested in virtual appointments all you need is a smart phone. We can provide you with cheek retractors, but it is not necessary for every appointment. You will still be given an exact appointment time so you have the doctors full attention. You may be asked to text or e-mail photos of your teeth prior to your appointment. At or around your appointment time your assistant will contact you on either an Apple device with Facetime or on Android device with Google Duo. The assistant will review your treatment plan and make notes, the doctor will take a look at your teeth and do a visual exam, then he will instruct you as to the next steps. This might include picking up more aligners, starting, changing, or starting elastic band wear, or turning and expander a prescribed number of turns. Sometimes you may just want a quick look at something you are unsure about. You will be surprised how much can be accomplished this way. Then the doctor will let you know when he needs to see you again in the flesh.