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Early Treatment

The American Association of Orthodontists recommends that children should see an Orthodontist for a screening exam no later than age 7.  This is because around this age the four permanent front teeth, as well as the 1st permanent molar teeth have erupted into the mouth.  This allows the orthodontist to evaluate crowding of the front teeth and the bite relationships of the back teeth.  It is also very important at this age to evaluate and monitor the eruption paths of the developing permanent teeth.  Some types of orthodontic problems, such as crossbites and underbites, are most easily resolved around this age.  If left undiagnosed or treated for a long period of time, these problems are usually much more difficult and time consuming to correct. 

If necessary, we may recommend a 2 Phase treatment approach as the best orthodontic plan.  This approach usually requires two separate phases of treatment, with each phase lasting about 1 year, with a break in between each phase.  To find out more information about 2 Phase treatment, click here to download our 2 Phase treatment brochure (Note: make sure you have the free Adobe Reader software installed on your computer).

Phase 1 Treatment (Preventive)

            The goals of Phase 1 treatment are:

  1. To widen the jaws to accommodate all of the permanent teeth
  2. To correctly relate the upper and lower jaws to one another

Preventive treatment greatly reduces:

  1. The need to extract permanent teeth to correct crowding
  2. The need for jaw surgery to correct misaligned jaws
  3. The time necessary to wear full braces

A great variety of appliances may be used to accomplish these goals.  A comprehensive examination and diagnosis allow the orthodontist to choose the correct ones for each patient.  Treatment usually lasts about one year, followed by a year or two of observation while permanent teeth are erupting.  Below are some photos of two common appliances used in Phase 1 treatment.

Palatal Expander

Lip Bumper

Phase 2 Treatment (Corrective)

Phase 2 treatment is dedicated to establishing the ideal position and alignment of each permanent tooth in the mouth, in harmony with the cheeks, tongue, jaws and jaw joints.  This particular phase of treatment usually starts around 11-13 years old, just before the last baby tooth is lost, or just as the last permanent teeth are erupting.  The ideal time to begin Phase 2 is at the start of the adolescent growth spurt.  This allows the orthodontist to take advantage of growth to establish harmony with the teeth and jaws.  Some types of problems, such as overbites, are more difficult to correct in non growing patients.  Phase 2 treatment usually lasts one year and requires full braces.

Dental Kit

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