You don't have to wait for an orthodontic problem to arise before you visit your orthodontist. We will use radiographs and a clinical exam to evaluate children as early as 7 years old. Often, if a problem with the teeth is noticed early enough, the treatment can be much shorter, less expensive and less traumatic for the patient. Here is a list of common preventative treatments that our orthodontists have performed.
Early loss of teeth sometimes requires a space maintainer. If a tooth is lost before the permanent tooth has a chance to take its place, the space will close when other teeth drift into the space.
Once the permanent tooth erupts, it's path will be out of alignment as well. A space maintainer is an orthodontic appliance that holds the space open so that the permanent tooth. can erupt favorably. It is a simple device that can save your child many months of future orthodontic treatment.
Mild to moderate crowding may be alleviated or reduced without using braces if treatment begins while the permanent front teeth are erupting (before 7 years of age). This can be done by creating more space for the teeth and allowing natural alignment to occur. A space analysis can be done as soon as baby teeth start to fall out so it is important to have xrays taken and to visit us to allow for the most efficient treatment possible.
Sometimes baby teeth do not fall out when they are supposed to. In fact, there are some cases when the baby tooth does not fall out naturally at all. This can happen when the permanent tooth is congenitally missing or grows in the wrong location and does not push out the baby tooth. In these cases it may be necessary to extract the baby tooth to allow for proper alignment of the permanent teeth.
When a healthy mouth bites down, the top teeth will fit outside of the bottom teeth. This is natures way of helping you chew your food without chewing your cheeks and lips. Cross-bite is when the top teeth in the back fit on the inside of the lower teeth. We can fabricate one of several appliances that will be specific for your case. Usually, this means expanding the upper arch. If corrected early enough with an appliance, a jaw disharmony can be prevented. This can also correct esthetic disharmony in your frontal profile.
Intense, prolonged thumb or finger sucking can have adverse affects on the teeth and jaws. It may cause the upper front teeth to tip forward and even the upper jaw to move forward.
Stopping the habit in time is important in preventing potentially serious overbite. We can fabricate an appliance that makes it nearly impossible to suck your thumb or fingers. If the problem is addressed early enough, braces may not even be necessary.
Permanent front teeth may be straightened with braces at the ages of 8-10. These braces are often only bonded to the front teeth. Sometimes this is necessary to correct a functional problem and/or to prevent a more serious problem at a later time. At other times, parents may desire that braces be placed early to improve a child's appearance. Remember, children want to look as normal as possible and sometimes gross discrepancies in tooth alignment can lead to insecurities that can otherwise be corrected. However, we will need to evaluate each patient on a case-by-case basis as braces are not appropriate for all young children.
Early Straightening of Permanent Incisors
Some children have a significant mismatch of the upper and lower jaws. Orthopedic appliances can help align the jaws properly. These appliances can usually be inserted and removed by the patient.
Functional Jaw Orthopedics
One of the primary reasons a headgear is used is to correct the way the upper and lower molars fit together. It can also be used to create additional space for permanent teeth alignment. We do not feel it is appropriate to have children wear headgear to school because it is too intrusive with daily activity; he asks his patients to wear them at home and to sleep.
Disking is a procedure that creates extra space to improve alignment of permanent teeth. This can be in conjunction with braces or instead of braces. It works best in children with mild to moderate crowding of permanent incisors. The amount of tooth removed in between teeth is imperceptible and does not affect further tooth function.