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Early Treatment

When is the best time to begin orthodontics?

Though an orthodontist can enhance a smile at any age, there is an optimal time period to begin treatment. Beginning treatment at this time ensures the greatest result and the least amount of time and expense. The American Association of Orthodontists recommends that the initial orthodontic evaluation should occur at the first sign of orthodontic problems or no later than age 7. At this early age, orthodontic treatment may not be necessary, but vigilant examination can anticipate the most advantageous time to begin treatment.

What are the benefits of early orthodontic evaluation?

Early evaluation provides both timely detection of problems and greater opportunity for more effective treatment. Prudent intervention guides growth and development, preventing serious problems later. When orthodontic intervention is not necessary, an orthodontist can carefully monitor growth and development and begin treatment when it is ideal.

 

Why is age 7 considered the optimal time for screening?

By the age of 7, the first adult molars erupt, establishing the back bite. During this time, an orthodontist can evaluate front-to-back and side-to-side tooth relationships. For example, the presence of erupting incisors can indicate possible overbite, open bite, crowding or gummy smiles. Timely screening increases the chances for an incredible smile.

What are the advantages of interceptive treatment?

Some of the most direct results of interceptive treatment are:

  • Creating room for crowded, erupting teeth
  • Creating facial symmetry through influencing jaw growth
  • Reducing the risk of trauma to protruding front teeth
  • Preserving space for unerupted teeth
  • Reducing the need for tooth removal
  • Reducing treatment time with braces

Are you a candidate for orthodontic treatment?

Orthodontics is not merely for improving the aesthetics of the smile; orthodontic treatment improves bad bites (malocclusions). Malocclusions occur as a result of tooth or jaw misalignment. Malocclusions affect the way you smile, chew, clean your teeth or feel about your smile.

Why should malocclusions be treated?

According to studies by the American Association of Orthodontists, untreated malocclusions can result in a variety of problems. Crowded teeth are more difficult to properly brush and floss, which may contribute to tooth decay and/or gum disease. Protruding teeth are more susceptible to accidental chipping. Crossbites can result in unfavorable growth and uneven tooth wear. Openbites can result in tongue-thrusting habits and speech impediments. Ultimately, orthodontics does more than make a pretty smile—it creates a healthier you.

What is an Orthopedic Herbst Appliance?

Herbst with Labial braces

The Herbst is an orthopedic appliance used to increase the development of the mandible (lower jaw). The Herbst appliances correct overbites in children and teens that have not reached jaw growth maturation. It is used in cases when the lower jaw has not kept up in growth and a large overbite has developed. The Herbst appliance has four crowns that are cemented on the upper and lower molars. The crowns on the upper molars have metal cylinders and are linked with Herbst without bracesmetal arms to the lower molars. The metal arms within the cylinders slide forward when the mouth moves causing it to grow. The Herbst is in place for approximately 12 months in conjunction with Lingual or Labial braces.

What is an Orthopedic Face Mask?

The Face Mask is an external orthopedic appliance that is worn in conjunction with expanders or braces. The Face Mask pulls on the upper jaw to improve forward growth to correct an anterior crossbite, or underbite. It is attached with elastic bands and worn at home and at night. It is usually worn for several months and can be used in Phase I and/or Phase II.

 

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