The American Association of Orthodontics recommends that an orthodontist examine your child’s teeth by the time they are 7 years old.
Our Pediatric dentists are trained to identify bite issues when your child is at an early age and will refer your child to our orthodontist at the appropriate time. Treatment at this age may not be necessary, but orthodontic monitoring can help anticipate the ideal timeline for the most effective treatment and also help to prevent more serious problems in the future.
Conditions Treated by Orthodontics
Orthodontic treatment is optimal when timed with your child’s dental and skeletal development. In a growing child, orthodontic treatment can take advantage of your child’s oral growth and may prevent more complex orthodontic problems from arising and obviate the need for more drastic and invasive dental procedures.
Some results of effective early treatment:
- Reducing the need for tooth removal
- Creating space for crowded, erupting teeth
- Reducing the risk of injury to protruding front teeth
- Preserving needed space for permanent teeth
- Reducing future orthodontic treatment time
Gaps Between the Teeth
Gaps between the teeth allow food particles to more easily get stuck and can also cause abnormal jaw growth or gum recession.
Overbite is the term used when the top teeth are positioned too far forward to correctly make contact with the lower teeth. This can be caused by thumb or finger sucking or simply by genetics or specific bone development patterns. This condition can lead to temporomandibular joint (TMJ) problems (causing pain in the jaw) or cause unhealthy wear patterns in the teeth.
Underbite is the term used when the lower teeth are further forward than the upper teeth. It can be caused by irregular jaw growth in either the upper or lower jaw, or both. Missing upper teeth can also contribute to the development of an underbite. This condition can lead to TMJ problems (with pain in the jaw) or cause unhealthy wear patterns in the teeth.
In a healthy bite, the outside ridge of the lower teeth will make contact with the middle of the upper teeth. A crossbite occurs when some of the lower teeth edges are outside of the upper teeth edges. This can be result of the upper and lower jaws being misaligned. This condition can cause unhealthy wear patterns on the teeth, gum disease and bone loss.
Open Bite describes the condition that occurs when several upper and lower teeth are unable to make contact with each other. This can be caused by thumb or finger sucking or simply by genetics or specific bone development patterns. An open bite can make it difficult (or even painful) to bite or chew and can sometimes interfere with speech. This condition can also lead to TMJ problems.
Overcrowding occurs when there is not enough space in the mouth for all of the teeth to fit with correct alignment. There are several ways this condition may be treated but it is important to treat because crowded or crooked teeth can make it difficult to brush and floss to maintain oral health. Failure to correct crowded teeth may result in increased gum disease and tooth decay. Crowded teeth may become more crooked over time.
Metal braces made from stainless steel brackets and wires remain the most popular choice for braces and are very effective.
Virtually invisible, there are several advantages clear brackets have over traditional braces and aligners. Clear braces combine tieless braces with high technology archwires that are clinically proven to move teeth fast and comfortably with truly spectacular smile and facial results. Available from skilled orthodontists, clear braces combine the best of traditional clear braces and invisible aligners to deliver a discrete treatment experience with results that go beyond straight teeth.
Let Invisalign® and Invisalign® Teen help perfect your smile – using clear aligners and not metal braces – so your teenage memories can be captured with confidence! Invisalign Teen aligners are removable and virtually invisible, which means you can straighten your teeth without anyone knowing.
Two Phase Orthodontic Treatment for Young Children
Some orthodontic conditions are more easily addressed when detected early, before all of your child’s permanent teeth have grown in, and early treatment may prevent more serious problems later on. If early treatment is recommended, it is often completed in two phases.
Phase I Orthodontic Treatment
Phase I is recommended for the above listed reasons for Early Treatment and for growth modification while the patient is growing/pre-puberty and recommended for habits like digit sucking or tongue thrust.
- Rapid Maxillary Expander
- Schwartz mandibular expander
- Twin Block
- Reverse Pull Headgear
- Lower lingual holding arch
Palatal Expander Device (PED)
Both removable and fixed PEDs can be used to address crowding and other issues by expanding the upper jaw to make more room to accommodate tooth and/or jaw alignment.
Phase II Orthodontic Treatment
Phase II includes comprehensive orthodontic treatment with full fixed appliances (braces).
- Metal brackets
- Ceramic brackets
- Invisalign teen
- Inter arch elastics
Once treatment is complete, a retainer is worn for a period of time, usually just at night. The retainer helps maintain the new smile and also allows for small adjustments, if needed, once the braces have been removed.