This may seem early for braces, but at this age, Dr. Chu can identify and address many problems that if left untreated, may make later treatment far more difficult on both the child and the orthodontist.
By the age of seven, most children will have the front four adult teeth on the upper and lower, as well as the first permanent molars erupted. With these teeth erupted, we can evaluate if there is adequate space for the other teeth to erupt. In addition, we can evaluate the growth of the jaws to determine any bite discrepancy, check for crossbites, arch width, and dangerous protrusions of the front teeth.
Often, an early phase of orthodontic treatment to address one or more of these issues can reduce the likelihood for extractions of adult teeth, simplify later treatment with braces, and improve the child’s self-image during the formative years.
Advantages of Early Orthodontic Treatment:
In addition, orthodontic technology has advanced to a point where we can now move teeth with braces and complete adult cases as if they were children or teenagers. The days of adult treatment with braces taking twice to three times as long as adolescent treatment are in the past. Using light-force movement and keeping the blood-flow intact encourages bone remodeling and regeneration, which leads to faster tooth movement – even in adults.
Also, many adults have been put off by orthodontic treatment in the past because they were told the only way to correct their bite was with major jaw surgery or permanent tooth extraction. This again is a thing of the past. In most cases, we are able to use just braces and avoid the need for both surgery and extractions, and our results both esthetically and functionally have been beautiful.
Adult orthodontic treatment is a rapidly growing concept. A recent study showed that one in five orthodontic patients were adults.
If the look of braces is a concern to you, we now have a completely clear version of the Damon braces available for placement. In the past, the benefits of the Damon System (faster tooth movement, lack of surgery and extractions, etc.) were only available in a metal or partially clear bracket. This advancement has made it possible to combine the best functional treatment available with the discreet look that many adults are after. Schedule a complimentary consultation today to see what we can do for you!
For more information on adult braces, visit www.archwired.com
Two-phase orthodontic treatment is a very specialized process that encompasses straightening the teeth along with jaw movement and facial changes. A common question that many parents have is whether or not they can “put off” orthodontic treatment for their child until all of the permanent teeth have come in.
The major advantage of beginning early with a two-phase treatment is to maximize the opportunity to accomplish the ideal healthy, functional, and esthetic result that will remain stable throughout your life.
The disadvantage of waiting on braces 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.
In addition, once your child’s permanent teeth are in place, it can be more difficult to correct problems without invasive procedures like surgery or extracting teeth.
With early treatment, the chances of your child needing surgery or extractions to correct jaw discrepancies is less likely and will help make their jaw stronger and more stable in the future.
The goal of first phase treatment is to develop the jaw size in order to accommodate all the permanent teeth and to coordinate 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.
Because they are growing rapidly, children can benefit enormously from an early phase of orthodontic treatment utilizing appliances that direct the growth of the upper and lower jaws.
This early correction may prevent removal of permanent teeth to correct overcrowding 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 misalignment too severe to resolve with braces alone.
In this phase, the remaining permanent teeth are allowed to erupt. Retainers are recommended since they help prevent relapse to the prior condition and guide eruption of the remaining permanent teeth.
Monitoring the fit of the retainer and the eruption of permanent teeth is necessary during the resting phase. In addition, selective removal of certain primary (baby) teeth may be in the best interest of enhancing eruption during this time. Therefore, periodic recall appointments for observation are necessary, usually on a three-month basis.
The goal of the second phase is to make sure each tooth is positioned so that it is in harmony with the musculature of the face and tongue, and functions properly with the other teeth. When this equilibrium is established the result is a functional and beautiful smile!
The second phase begins when all permanent teeth have erupted and usually requires braces on all the teeth for an average of 18 months.
Often people do not realize that retention is a lifelong endeavor. Your teeth will always want to move…even when you’re 80! Any amount of consistent pressure can cause teeth to shift over time. This includes muscular forces from the cheeks and tongue, as well as the natural progression of teeth to drift as you age.
Often people do not realize that retention is a lifelong endeavor. Your teeth will always want to move…even when you’re 80!
To avoid relapse and shifting, we recommend 16-hour per day wear of your clear Invisitane retainer for one year following the removal of the braces. If the third molars (wisdom teeth) are present under the gums, we recommend the 16-hour wear until they have either been removed, or have grown in fully. After one year has passed and the wisdom teeth are no longer an issue, indefinite night-time wear should be sufficient to keep the teeth in place. At some point you may need to replace the Invisitane retainer if it becomes too loose; but if well taken care of, they will last for years.
The lower standard retainer that we use is a permanently bonded stainless steel wire that is placed behind the lower front six teeth. No one will be able to see this retainer, but it serves to maintain the space and shape of the lower arch which is often where shifting will begin. We do recommend that this retainer is left in place indefinitely. If brushed and flossed regularly, it is very easy to maintain and will not cause damage to the teeth