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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.  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.   The presence of erupting permanent 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 more 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 your smile, chew, clean your teeth and 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 or chipping.  Open bites can result in tongue-thrusting habits and speech impediments.  Ultimately, orthodontics does more than make a pretty smile – it creates a healthier you!

 

SERVICES WE PROVIDE

Two-Phase Treatment

Two-phase treatment occurs when a child needs early orthodontic treatment during the time when the permanent teeth are erupting and some of the baby teeth are present.  Reasons for early treatment may include difficulty in chewing or biting, breathing through the mouth, thumb-sucking, crowded or misplaced teeth, jaws that are too far forward or back, protruding teeth, upper and lower teeth that do not meet or meet in an abnormal way, or grinding or clenching of the teeth.   The American Association of Orthodontists recommends children see an orthodontist at age 7 to evaluate any discrepancies in jaw growth and emerging teeth.  Some orthodontic problems are easier to correct if they are detected early.  If no problems are detected, the child will be monitored periodically under supervision appointments, so Dr. Berg can supervise the growth and development of the child, pinpointing the best time for orthodontic treatment, if necessary.

 

Phase I Orthodontic Treatment

Phase I Orthodontic Treatment occurs if an early growth and development discrepancy is detected.  The goal of the first phase of treatment is to develop the jaw size in order to accommodate all of the permanent teeth and to relate the upper and lower jaws to each other.  Children sometimes exhibit early signs of jaw problems as they grow and develop.  An upper or lower jaw that is growing too much or not enough can be recognized at an early age.  If children are found to have jaw discrepancy, they are candidates for orthodontic treatment.  Because they are growing rapidly, children can benefit enormously form orthodontic treatment utilizing strategies that increase space for unerupted permanent teeth and align upper and lower jaws.  Leaving such a condition untreated until all of the permanent teeth erupt could result in a jaw discrepancy too severe to achieve an ideal result with braces alone.

After Phase I treatment, a resting phase is necessary to allow the eruption of all permanent teeth.  In this phase, the orthodontic appliances from Phase I are removed and retaining devices (retainers) are sometimes recommended to hold the space created for unerupted permanent teeth.  Occasionally a retainer is not necessary to allow the existing permanent teeth some freedom of movement while final eruption of the teeth occurs.  A successful first phase will have created room for teeth to find a more favorable eruption path.  This decreases the possibility of becoming impacted or severely displaced.  It is important to note that at the end of the first phase of treatment, your child’s teeth may not be in their final position.  This will be determined and accomplished in the second phase of treatment.  Selective removal of certain primary (baby) teeth may be necessary for the eruption of permanent teeth during the resting phase.  Therefore, periodic recall appointments for observation are necessary, usually on a three to six month basis.

 

Phase II Orthodontic Treatment

Phase II Orthodontic Treatment occurs after eruption of all permanent teeth is nearly complete.  With a good foundation established in the first phase and normal growth during the resting period, the second phase can be carried out to complete the alignment of the teeth in the same manner as Full Orthodontic Treatment.  New retainers are made and worn after this phase.

 

Full Orthodontic Treatment

Full Orthodontic Treatment occurs when all of the permanent teeth have erupted, normally around age 12.  However, teenage children are not the only candidates for full orthodontic treatment.  Adults make up about 25 percent of orthodontic patients.  Each patient is different, but treatment generally takes 1-3 years to complete depending on the complexity of the case.  During treatment, adjustments to the braces are made approximately every 6-8 weeks.  Retainer s will be made and should be worn to retain the teeth in their final position.

Invisalign®

Invisalign® a treatment option offered as an alternative to braces for some patients with full adult dentition and complete jaw growth.  The system uses a series of clear orthodontic aligners that are virtually undetectable to other people.  The aligners are more comfortable to wear than traditional braces and can be removed for eating and brushing.  As and orthodontic specialist certified in the Invisalign® program, Dr. Berg is pleased to discuss this treatment option during the initial evaluation and determine if Invisalign® is the best option for your orthodontic care.