1) First molars erupt at age 6, so at this time the orthodontist can access the bite and width of jaws and any skeletal problems can be seen at this age.
2) Orthodontist can identify if oral habits (thumb-sucking, nail biting, tongue thrust) are starting to effect the bite and the way teeth come together.
3) Incisors have begun to erupt and problems can be detected such as crowding, habits, deep bites, open bites and some facial asymmetries.
This timely screening can lead to significant treatment benefits and peace of mind. The dentist who makes timely referrals is rightly regarded as informed, caring and concerned for the total well being of the patient.
Top 10 benefits of early treatment or phase I treatment.
1) Influence jaw growth in a positive manner.
2) Harmonize width of the dental arches.
3) Improve eruption patterns.
4) Lower risk of trauma to protruded upper incisors.
5) Correct harmful oral habits.
6) Improve aesthetics and self-esteem.
7) Simplify and/or shorten treatment time for later corrective orthodontics.
8) Reduce likelihood of impacted permanent teeth.
9) Improve some speech problems.
10) Preserve or gain space for erupting permanent teeth.
Top 10 signs or habits that may indicate the need for an orthodontic examination:
1) Early or late loss of baby teeth
2) Difficulty in chewing or biting
3) Mouth breathing
4) Thumb sucking
5) Finger sucking
6) Crowding, misplaced or blocked out teeth
7) Jaws that shift or make sounds
8) Biting the cheek or roof of the mouth
9) Teeth that meet abnormally or not at all
10) Jaws and teeth that are out of proportion to the rest of the face
If any of these problems are noted by parents, regardless of age, it is advisable to consult an orthodontist. It is not necessary to wait until age 7 for an orthodontic check-up.
If a child has early treatment, will this prevent the need for braces as an adolescent?
Early treatment can begin the correction of significant problems, prevent more severe problems from developing, and simplify future treatment. Because all of the permanent teeth have not yet erupted when early treatment is performed, their final alignment may not have been corrected. Typically, a shortened comprehensive phase of treatment (Phase II – full braces) in the teen years, after all the permanent teeth have erupted, completes the correction. However, in some circumstances, further orthodontic treatment may not be indicated.
What is the two-phase orthodontic treatment? Two-phase orthodontic treatment is a very specialized process that encompasses a thorough evaluation of your childs jaw growth and potential, tooth straightening and physical, and facial changes that are needed. Phase I or Early treatment:Typically is needed around age 8 -9 years old and allows the orthodontist to stimulate growth where it is needed and to attempt to create room for the adult teeth to erupt. Total active treatment time ranges from 6 to 14 months. Phase II treatment:
After a resting phase (waiting for adult teeth to grow-in) a second phase is needed to correct jaw growth and alignment in conjunction with the pubertal growth and jaw growth. Phase II typically starts around age 10-13 and lasts approximately 18-24 months depending on the severity of the bite, alignment, etc
What is the advantage of two-phase orthodontic treatment?The major advantage of a two-phase treatment is to maximize the opportunity to accomplish the ideal healthy, functional, aesthetic result that will remain stable throughout your life. Two- phase treatment also helps us avoid extractions of adult teeth and avoid jaw surgery as an adult. What if I put off treatment? The disadvantage of waiting for complete eruption of permanent teeth and having only one phase of treatment for someone with a jaw discrepancy is facing the possibility of a compromised result that may not be stable. As well as a more challenging treatment that may require extractions of adult teeth and/or surgical correction as an adult. What is the goal of First Phase of Treatment?The goal of first phase treatment is to develop the jaw size in order to accommodate all the permanent teeth and to relate the upper and lower jaws to each other. Children sometimes exhibit early signs of jaw problems as they grow and develop. An upper and lower jaw that is growing too much or not enough can be recognized at an early age. If children after age 6 are found to have this jaw discrepancy, they are candidates for early orthodontic treatment. Planning now can save your smile later. Because they are growing rapidly, children can benefit enormously from an early phase of orthodontic treatment utilizing appliances that direct the growth relationship of the upper and lower jaws. Thus, a good foundation can be established, providing adequate room for eruption of all permanent teeth. This early correction may prevent later removal of permanent teeth to correct overcrowding, it can help avoid impaction of teeth and/or surgical procedures to align the upper and lower jaws. Leaving such a condition untreated until all permanent teeth erupt could result in a jaw discrepancy too severe to achieve an ideal result with braces. Dr. Kriger uses your child’s X-rays, photos and models to make a thorough diagnosis and plan for treatment. What is the goal of the Second Phase of treatment?The goal of the second phase is to make sure each tooth has an exact location in the mouth where it is in harmony with the lips, cheeks, tongue, and other teeth. When this equilibrium is established, the smile will look great and the teeth will function together properly, making them last longer!
The expander is one of the most commonly used appliance besides conventional braces. In a growing child It helps us accomplish numerous tasks:
1) Correct the width of a narrow upper jaw
2) Create room for adult teeth to erupt
3) May eliminate need for extraction
4) May eliminate need for jaw surgery as adult
5) Widens out smile
6) May create room for impacted canines
Each expander is custom made and children get used to it in several days. Most importantly, It is a great appliance, but it most effective when a child is growing!
It’s not always easy for parents to tell if their child has an orthodontic problem. Please DO NOT wait for your dentist or pediatric dentist to send your child to the orthodontist.
Only an orthodontist is fully trained to make that determination of the best timing to initiate treatment. Contact us if you have any questions and/or would like to discuss how we can assist your needs.
Copyright Maryann Kriger, DDS, PA. All rights reserved.