ORTHODONTIC TREATMENT FOR CHILDREN.
Chronological age is not a factor when deciding whether a patient is a candidate for orthodontic treatment; there is not one ideal age for treatment to begin. Healthy teeth can be moved at any age.
The American Association of Orthodontists (AAO) recommends all children get a check-up with an orthodontist at the first sign of an orthodontic problem, but no later than age 7. Few patients will need treatment that young, but some will benefit from early intervention. For these patients, treatment is likely to consist of guiding the growth of the jaws so that the permanent teeth are in good positions as they come in.
A check-up while some baby teeth are still present, and while the face and jaws are growing, may reveal that immediate treatment is not necessary. In these cases, we like to monitor growth and development at 6-12 month intervals. This “watchful waiting” gives Dr. Lamparski the opportunity to recommend treatment at the most appropriate time. Often we take advantage of predictable periods of growth and intervene so orthodontic treatment can have the best results possible. There are some issues that cannot be accomplished once the face and jaws are no longer growing.
BENEFITS OF EARLY INTERVENTION ORTHODONTICS.
Phase I, or early interceptive treatment, is orthodontic treatment (i.e. expansion or partial braces) that is done before all of the permanent teeth have erupted, and often occurs between the ages of six and ten. Phase I treatment is recommended when there is a moderate or severe orthodontic problem that should not wait until later to be treated. Dr. Lamparski is very conservative and does not recommend Phase I treatment unless he can make a significant difference in his patient’s final outcome. We wait until treatment that is efficient and economical can be delivered…until we can do the best care, at the best time, for the best value.
The goal of Phase 1 is to develop the child’s jaws to make room for the future eruption of permanent teeth and to improve the relationship of the upper and lower jaws. An upper or lower jaw that is growing too much or too little can benefit from early treatment. This early correction can often prevent dental trauma, later removal of permanent teeth, or even jaw surgery. Leaving a severe condition untreated until all permanent teeth erupt could result in a problem too severe to correct with braces alone. The treatment time for Phase I treatment is usually between 6-18 months. Later, when most of the permanent teeth have erupted (usually between the ages of eleven and thirteen), Phase II treatment will be recommended.
The goal of Phase II Treatment is to position all the permanent teeth to maximize their appearance and function. This is best accomplished with full braces or Invisalign and is usually between 12-18 months long. Due to the improvements made in Phase I Treatment, Phase II Treatment requires less patient participation (less headgear and rubber bands), often eliminates extraction of permanent teeth, and reduces the time spent in full braces. This is especially important for patients as they enter their teenage years!
- Influence jaw growth in a positive manner
- Improve the width of the dental arches
- Reduce the need to extract permanent teeth
- Reduce or eliminate the need for jaw surgery
- Lower the risk of trauma to protruded front teeth
- Correct harmful oral habits
- Improve esthetics and self-esteem
- Simplify and shorten treatment time for definitive orthodontic treatment (phase II)
- Increase stability of final treatment results
- Reduce likelihood of impacted permanent teeth
- Improve speech development
- Improve position of first molars
- Guide permanent teeth into more favorable positions
- Improve lip competence
- Preserve or gain space for erupting teeth
- Improve compliance before the busy teenage years
TRY ON BRACES.
Brackets and elastics come in a wide variety of colors. Paint Your Smile by 3M lets you have fun choosing your own elastics and brackets used for metal braces. In just four simple steps, you can get a good idea of what you would look like with braces that follow a certain color scheme. Try it out today!
PARENT’S GUIDE TO ORTHODONTICS
Is it time for your child or teen to get braces? Maybe you’ve noticed them having difficulty speaking clearly, or even the front teeth sticking out due to a long-gone thumb habit. When it comes to your son or daughter getting braces, let this information from the American Association of Orthodontists serve as your guide to what every parent can expect.