The American Association of Orthodontists recommends every child have an orthodontic evaluation by age 7. By this time, the appropriate number of permanent teeth has erupted and enough jaw growth has occurred
It is not always easy to identify a child’s need for orthodontic treatment. To the untrained eye, abnormalities can be easily overlooked. This is why seeing an orthodontic specialist is the best approach. A child may need an orthodontic exam if:
They lose primary (baby) teeth early or late
They have difficulty biting or chewing
They experience mouth breathing or thumb sucking
They have crowded or blocked out teeth
Their jaws shift or make sounds
They bite their cheeks and/or palate
Their jaws are not aligned proportionately with their face
There is excessive spacing between the teeth
The primary objective for Phase One (early) treatment is to address significant skeletal and/or facial orthopedic problems and prevent them from becoming more severe. Only recommends it for children if we feels it is absolutely necessary. Certain functional issues are best addressed at an early age and can reduce, if not eliminate entirely, the need for more invasive measures, such as surgery.
Timely screening increases the chances for an incredible smile. Some of the most direct results of Phase One treatment are:
Creating room for crowded, erupting teeth
Creating facial symmetry by 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
To get the full benefit from Phase One treatment, it is usually initiated on children between the ages of 7 and 10, and lasts about 10-20 months, depending on the recommended treatment. Straightening of the teeth is not the priority of Phase One treatment, although it may be a temporary result. Since many of the permanent teeth have not yet come in, there is no guarantee that any straightening done during Phase One will be retained. Full braces are typically worn once all of the permanent teeth have erupted in order to cosmetically straighten all of the teeth.
Braces aren’t just for kids anymore. A surprising percentage of our patients are adults. In fact, 25 percent of all orthodontic patients are over the age of 18. Crooked teeth, overcrowding and tooth alignment can be corrected at any age as long as the gums and bone structure are healthy. No patient is “too old” to wear braces!
The most common time for orthodontic treatment, however, is between the ages of 11 and 15, and for good reason. By 12 years old, most if not all of the permanent teeth have erupted and are in place; making it easy for the orthodontist to detect crooked teeth, gaps and improper bites. These problems will rarely correct themselves, so this is an optimal time for orthodontic treatment.
Another reason this is a good time for orthodontic treatment is because many of the negative associations or stereotypes of braces are not present. Many children in this age range undergo orthodontic treatment, and children are much more compliant wearing braces when their friends are wearing them too.
Besides the cooperation and general acceptance for braces at this age, it also happens to be a time when children are growing rapidly, and Orthodontists can usually take advantage of these growth spurts to help shape the bite and teeth correctly. And children at this age have high metabolisms, which can help shorten overall treatment time and reduce the discomfort of orthodontic treatment.
Orthodontic treatment at later stages in life can dramatically improve personal appearance and self-esteem, not to mention the overall function of your bite and health of the teeth and gums. For example, decay can develop between crowded and/or angled teeth; making it difficult to brush or keep teeth clean. Also, improper bite alignment can cause jaw pain and uneven wearing of the teeth.
Just like our bodies, our teeth tend to shift and change throughout our lives, so teeth that were at one time straight may no longer be straight now that you’ve reached adulthood. This is why we stresses the importance of retainers for all patients. Teeth will naturally want to return to a “comfortable”, usually more crooked position. With retainers, patients should be able to keep their teeth looking straight and beautiful for a lifetime!
Adults are more prone to grinding or clenching of the teeth, typically due to stress. These types of habits can exacerbate orthodontic issues if left untreated, and orthodontics can in many cases help alleviate pain or pressure caused by a misaligned bite or teeth; drastically improving the functionability of the jaw.
Treatment options for adults include:
Traditional braces are now stronger and more efficient than ever. We utilize self-ligating brackets, which enable us to reduce the number of appointments and shorten treatment time.
Although metal brackets are the most familiar, clear ceramic brackets are also available. Clear braces maintain the quality and efficiency of metal brackets, but their translucent color makes them less noticeable.
Clear Aligner Systems
Clear aligner systems are an aesthetic treatment for straightening and realigning teeth without the use of brackets and wires used with traditional braces. These systems involve a series of clear overlay templates—called aligners—that fit snuggly over the teeth and are changed out to gradually move teeth into a desired position. we offers several options in clear aligner systems.
Two Phase Treatment
As a highly trained specialist, Dr. shariti can detect signs of skeletal (jaw) problems or facial orthopedic issues in children at a very young age. Two-phase orthodontic treatment is sometimes necessary to address these problems early, while development and growth are peaking, in order to prevent them from becoming worse.
The major advantage of two-phase treatment is prevention. Not having enough room in the mouth to accommodate all of the permanent teeth or misaligned upper and lower jaws can cause severe problems if left untreated.
Two-phase treatment consists of Phase One, or early orthodontic treatment, and Phase Two, or full orthodontic treatment. Phase One is typically initiated on children between the ages of 7 and 10, and Phase Two does not begin until all of the permanent teeth have come in, usually after age 12.
Phase One (Early) Treatment
Because they are growing rapidly, children can often benefit enormously from Phase One treatment. The goal is to intercept improper dental development and/or modify the growth and structure of the jaw. Special appliances can slow down or redirect the growth of the jaw, improving the relationship of the upper and lower jaws. This establishes a good foundation and provides adequate room for all of the permanent teeth.
Early intervention may prevent the removal of primary (baby) or permanent teeth due to overcrowding or the need for future surgical procedures to align the upper and lower jaws. Waiting until all of the permanent teeth have erupted may result in a jaw discrepancy too severe to resolve with braces alone.
Immediately following Phase One treatment is the Resting Period, where the patient takes a break between phases and all appliances are removed while the last permanent teeth erupt. Note that the teeth are NOT in their final positions. This is accomplished during Phase Two.
During the Resting Period, patients do not have regular visits to the office like they do during active orthodontic treatment
observes the progress of the permanent teeth to make sure no unexpected problems arise. This is usually on a six-month basis.
Phase Two (Full) Treatment
Phase Two treatment begins once all of the permanent teeth have come in, usually around age 12. Beginning full braces before this point only lengthens the amount of time the patient has to wear braces.
The objective of Phase Two is to move all of the permanent teeth into the right position. Because the patient went through Phase One treatment, the foundation has been prepared so that Phase Two can focus on the cosmetic appearance of the teeth and on perfecting the bite. There should be ample room to align each tooth relative to the lips, tongue and cheeks so that the bite is comfortable and functions properly. The result is a beautiful smile for a lifetime!