Orthodontics for Children/Adults

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Early Intervention

Orthodontists today can successfully correct most problems regardless of the patient’s age. But that does not mean that the orthodontic treatment starting age does not matter. In fact it may play a significant role in the total time and expenses required for the completion of the orthodontic treatment. Early intervention can make a dramatic impact on establishing the proper occlusal foundation. Dr. Backus and the American Association of Orthodontists (AAO) recommends that all children have a check-up with an orthodontist by the time they reach age 7, for early detection of any potential problems. By the age 7, some of the permanent teeth have erupted, so that most children have a mix of adult and baby teeth. At this stage of mixed dentition, we can spot potential orthodontic problems related to jaw growth and eruption of adult teeth. Some growth-related orthodontic problems are easier to correct when they are identified early…while the facial bones are still growing.

An early exam allows Dr. Backus to determine how and when a child’s particular jaw and/or dental problems should be corrected for the optimal results. Early treatment, or phase one treatment, may be needed to create a better environment to idealize the occlusion for the patient or possibly create an environment to elevate treatment forever. An early orthodontic examination does not always result in immediate treatment. After evaluating your child, we may simply want to monitor your child periodically while the permanent teeth erupt and the jaws and face continue to develop.

Two-Phase Orthodontics

Two-phase orthodontic treatment is a very specialized process that encompasses jaw and facial changes and tooth straightening. The major advantage of two-phase treatment is to maximize the opportunity to accomplish the ideal healthy, functional, aesthetic and comfortable result that will remain stable. In some cases interceptive treatment prevents adult tooth extractions or major jaw surgery.

Interceptive orthodontic care is one of the most rewarding treatment options that we offer to our patients. Interceptive care is exactly that, intercepting a problem before it gets out of hand. Treatment occurs at a younger age than conventional orthodontic care and is not typically as long. The idea is to shift teeth, manipulate growth, create space for unerupted teeth, break habits and prevent trauma before it is too late. Children between the ages of 7 and 10 are best suited for this sort of treatment. They are flexible, compliant and their growth potential is still at a maximum. Treatment usually lasts 4 to 12 months after which the child is monitored and the decision as to the need for a second phase is made. Most children will require a second, more comprehensive, phase of treatment in order to create a completely stable, functional and aesthetic occlusion.

Second phase treatment begins once most of the adult teeth have erupted. This phase usually requires 12 months with braces on all of the teeth. After the second phase of treatment retainers will be worn in order to hold the teeth in the correct position.

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Adult Treatment: It’s never too late

Don’t let age stop you from having the straight teeth you’ve always dreamed of. Numerous technological advances have made braces less noticeable, less painful and even less time-consuming.

Braces are not just for kids. Teeth can be straightened at any age. The biological process involved in tooth movement is the same for both children and adults. Having straight teeth is important not only for children, but for adults as well. As we grow older, our teeth tend to grow inward, creating crowding – a common problem for many teens and adults. As a result, it may be difficult to keep teeth clean and healthy. The new techniques and the materials today have greatly decreased the discomfort of wearing braces, the frequency of office visits and overall treatment time.

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