At what age of the child should be the first appointment with an orthodontist?
The American Association for Orthodontists recommends that every child have an orthodontic evaluation by the age of 7.
- Early detection and treatment may give your child an edge: a much better chance for natural and normal development. By working with the natural growth instead of against it, we can prevent problems from becoming worse, and give your child a lifetime of healthy smiles!
- Every treatment may be initiated for: Habits such as tongue thrusting and thumb sucking.
- Jaw growth irregularities like underdevelopment or overgrowth.
- Constricted airway problems.
- Bad bite.
- Early loss of milk teeth leading to space deficiency for permanent teeth to erupt.
What is interceptive orthodontics?
The common practice of correcting bad bites and teeth crowding, is to wait till all permanent teeth erupt. It was often necessary to extract four permanent teeth to correct the bite when growth was nearly complete. In cases with short or too big jaws, the profile correction was often limited because of the lack of growth.
Interceptive orthodontics is a more recent concept where certain problems are treated early (around age 7-11) to take advantage of growth. This can result in:
- Fewer teeth extracted,
- Better profile and facial aesthetics
- Great full smiles.
In this concept, orthopedic appliances are used that guide jaw growth to ideal levels thus allowing the permanent teeth to erupt in their proper places reducing teeth crowding or other teeth alignment problems. This specialty of orthodontics is known as Dentofacial orthopedics.
What are the effects of unequal jaw growth?
Jaw growth is a slow and gradual process. Occasionally, something may go wrong with this process and the upper and lower jaws may grow at different rates.
UNEQUAL JAW GROWTH-A CAUSE FOR CONCERN
One or both jaws may grow too much or too little. The resulting abnormality may interfere with:
- Proper teeth alignment.
- Speaking and chewing.
- The tongue and lips may be forced to move awkwardly during speech and swallowing in an attempt to compensate for the jaw mal-relationship.
- There may be a speech defect or excessive mouth breathing.
An improper bite may threaten
- The long-term health of the gums and teeth.
- The jaw joint (TMJ) can also be adversely affected by a jaw malrelationship.
- In addition, jaws of different sizes-that don't match-can affect appearance.
What is second phase of treatment?
The goal of the second phase of orthodontic treatment is to place the teeth into equilibrium such that they will function together properly, be healthy, and look attractive.
Each tooth has a location within the mouth where it is in harmony with the lips, cheeks, tongue, and other teeth. As was the case in the 1st phase, orthodontic records are necessary to establish the appropriate diagnosis and treatment plan.
This 2nd phase is usually initiated once all the permanent teeth have erupted and usually requires braces on all the teeth for a period of time ranging from 12-18 months.
Two phase orthodontics involves changing jaw structure and jaw relationship to create a more favorable environment for the eruption of a full permanent dentition.
Potential advantages to this approach are a reduction of the overbite or under bite, allowing for more normal future jaw development, and the possibility that future treatment may not be needed.