As a parent, you want what is best for your child. That includes healthy teeth and a pleasing smile. Your children will be treated as if they were our own by your team at Varghese Orthodontics.
The American Association of Orthodontists recommends all children get a check-up with an orthodontist at age 7. By this age, most children have a mix of baby teeth and adult teeth, making it easier for Dr. Varghese to diagnose and assess jaw growth patterns, spacing needs, and any abnormalities that may exist.
Dr. Varghese will perform an initial exam to evaluate your child’s mouth. Many children at age 7 do not require treatment, and we will monitor them until the permanent teeth erupt. However, for some children, it is advisable to start treatment “early” (with baby teeth still present) to intercept issues that may present bigger problems as a child gets older.
There are many reasons why AGE 7 is important for your child’s first evaluation. With our complimentary exam, Dr. Varghese is able to evaluate jaw growth patterns and stage treatment at the appropriate time. Dr. Varghese can evaluate issues such as:
- Overbite or underbite
- Open bite or deep bite
- Spacing or crowding
- Dental or skeletal protrusion
- Finger/Thumb habits
For parents, it’s not always easy to know if your child may need orthodontic treatment. Don’t be fooled by the appearance of straight teeth! There may be underlying issues that can only be seen in x-rays or during a clinical exam. A very important component to the success of orthodontic treatment is timing. We would much rather see your child at 7 years old and suggest monitoring rather than seeing them too late!
Orthodontic treatment can be started on certain types of tooth problems before all permanent teeth have erupted. Early treatment, which usually takes place when there is a mixture of baby teeth and permanent teeth present ( ages 7 – 10 ), may be recommended. Treatment usually takes 6 to 12 months and variety of appliances may be used to correct specific problems.
There are a lot of advantages of Early Treatment!
- Moves the front teeth back so they will be less susceptible to injury.
- Improves relationship of upper and lower jaws, allowing more normal future growth and development.
- Uses maximum advantage of growth for successful treatment.
- Improves facial appearance and self-esteem.
- Correct and guide the growth of your child’s jaw to help the permanent teeth come in straight
- Regulate the width of the upper and lower arches
- Create more space for crowded teeth
- Avoid the need for permanent tooth extractions later in life
- Correct thumb sucking and help improve minor speech problems
Here are some clues that may indicate the need for orthodontic attention:
- Early or late loss of baby teeth (your child should typically start losing teeth around age five, and will have all permanent teeth around age 13)
- Difficulty in chewing or biting food
- Mouth breathing
- Finger or thumb sucking
- Crowded, misplaced, protruded, or blocked-out teeth
- Shifting of the jaw when your child opens or closes his or her mouth (crossbites)
- Crowded front teeth around age seven or eight
- Jaws that are too far forward or back
- Biting the cheek or biting into the roof of the mouth
- Upper and lower teeth that don’t meet, or meet in an abnormal way
- An unbalanced facial appearance
- Speech Impediments
- Grinding or clenching of the teeth
If your child is between the ages of seven 7 and 8 and shows signs of needing orthodontic care, or if you have been directed by your family dentist to visit the orthodontist, please contact our practice to schedule an appointment for an orthodontic evaluation. Early treatment now will give your child a healthy, beautiful smile for the future.
Phase I or Early Treatment
Early intervention to intercept any of these discrepancies is referred to as Phase I treatment. This first phase typically includes the use of a growth modification appliance, such as a palate expander to widen the palate. Often, but not always, partial braces will be placed for alignment or to gain space. Receiving orthodontic treatment at the right time will help avoid complexities related to more intrusive orthodontic treatment in the future that might require jaw surgery and extractions. Early treatment also helps boost confidence and self-esteem.
Resting or Retainer Period (Observation/Recall)
The patient’s teeth are NOT in their final positions at the end of Phase I of the two-phase orthodontic treatment. A resting period follows Phase I orthodontic treatment. During this period, the remainder of the permanent teeth are left alone to finish erupting. Dr. Varghese will continue monitor the growth and dental eruption of the teeth and jaws at 6 month intervals. These observation or recall appointments will also help determine if any further treatment is required after all the permanent teeth erupt. Dr. Varghese will also advise if certain baby teeth may need to be extracted between the two phases in order to ensure proper eruption of the remaining permanent teeth.
Phase II Treatment
The goal of the second phase is to ensure that each tooth is placed in the correct position within the mouth in conformity with the cheeks, tongue, lips and other parts of the face and mouth. Not only are the teeth and bite aligned for esthetics, proper functional bite is obtained after Phase II treatment. The second phase usually requires full braces or Invisalign and is started once all the permanent teeth have emerged. The total treatment time depends upon the complexity of the orthodontic issues, the cooperation of the patient, the selected treatment plan, and the pace at which the patient’s teeth respond to the treatment.