Orthodontic problems can be recognized as early as 4 years of age. Some of these signs are crowded teeth, and upper or lower jaw growth discrepancies.
If your child is older than 7, it’s certainly not too late for a check up. Children differ in both physiological development and treatment needs. Dr. Y's goal is to provide each patient with the most appropriate treatment at the most appropriate time.
Most Phase-One Treatment (if needed) begins at approximately age 7-8 when the incisors and first permanent molars are fully erupted. Because children are growing rapidly at this time, they can benefit enormously from early treatment. At this age, children also tend to be most eager and cooperative. Phase-One Treatment typically lasts from 12 to 18 months, depending on the severity of the condition.
Two-Phase Orthodontic Treatment seems to be more popular today than ever. It is not uncommon to see braces on elementary school children. You might be surprised that not all children need Two-Phase Orthodontic Treatment but when it is prescribed your child will enjoy its lifelong benefits.
There are many advantages or Orthodontic Treatment for teenagers. It improves the alignment of the teeth they are more easily cleaned and maintained which helps in the prevention of gum disease and tooth decay. By correcting bite problems excessive wear of the teeth can be avoided, chewing and speaking may be improved, and problems with the jaw joint may be lessened. The preventive effects of orthodontic treatment can lead to great savings with future dental work.
Finally, the most obvious reason most teens pursue orthodontic treatment, is esthetics. An unattractive smile has been shown to decrease self-esteem leading to more stressful teenage years, which may affect a person for the rest of their lives.
At times, an inherited malocclusion can be complicated by an acquired condition. Fortunately, with the proper diagnostic tools the orthodontist should be able to arrive at an ideal treatment plan.
Numerous studies in the past 20 years have linked chrnoic (prolonged) malocclusions ("bad bites") with premature wear of the teeth, fractured teeth, bone loss, gum recession, poor esthetics, and worsening temporomandibular dysfunction (TMD). Malaligned (crooked) teeth can lead to increased difficulty with oral hygiene and inturn lead to decay and gum disease. Fortunately, advancements in orthodontics have made treatment much more user-friendly, allowing adults to continue with their daily routines, singing, playing musical instruments, dining out, dating, and more.
Since adults do not grow and they often have other dental requirements, the orthodontic treatment is usually only part of the overall treatment plan. Also, certain bite problems are skeletal and may require more invasive treatment, including temporary anchorage devices, implants or even jaw surgery.
Close coordination may be required among the orthodontist, oral surgeon, periodontist, endodontist and family dentist to assure that the treatment plan is managed well.
In some cases, patients present with more severe skeletal discrepancies which increase the severity of their malocclusion. It may be due to trauma, abnormal growth, upper airway obstruction, tumors and genetics. For this small group of individuals, orthodontics alone is not sufficient; they require a combination of orthodontics and orthognathic (jaw) surgery. Typically, there is a 9-12 months period prior to the surgery that the patient is being treated with braces. Following the surgery, there is an additional 9-12 months of treatment with braces to complete the alignment and perfect the bite. If you prove to be such a patient, Dr. Y will review with you all the various alternatives and the risks and benefits of each.