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 7Up_Program_19May2015.pngof 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, Dr. Chenin 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, Dr. Chenin 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
  • Enhanced self-image
  • Higher self confidence
  • Easier speaking and phonetics
  • Improved chewing, mastication, and digestion
  • Correct harmful oral habits
  • Proper balance of lips & gums
  • Easier oral hygiene
  • Improves growth and development of facial structures

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.

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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.


By evaluating and working with a child's natural growth pattern, early orthodontic treatment can virtually eliminate the future need for pulling teeth to reduce crowding. Early treatment enables the top and bottom jaws to be precisely aligned as they develop; jaw size is coordinated with tooth size. Each child's growth potential is maximized so that all of the permanent teeth have room to come in naturally. In most cases, future problems such as extractions, impacted teeth and jaw surgeries are avoided!

When combined, two critical phases known as the Growth Phase and Alignment Phase can provide extraordinary benefits for patients. Many of those benefits include:

  • graduationImproved self-esteem
  • The elimination of unnecessary extractions and surgeries, along with discomfort and costs
  • Avoiding impacted teeth by creating adequate space
  • A reduction of total time in braces
  • Increased patient enthusiasm and cooperation toward orthodontic treatment
  • Early correction of protruding or "buck" teeth (the #1 cause of fractured teeth in children)

Growth Phase

The Growth Phase, also known as Phase I, typically begins around age 7-10 and lasts approximately 12-18 months. Visits to our office are scheduled every eight to 10 weeks. A few simple appliances and partial braces aid in achieving very specific goals for Phase I treatment:

  • Expanding and reshaping jaws to make room for all permanent teeth to erupt
  • Improving the bite malocclusions (bad bites) such as crossbites, underbites and overbites
  • Aligning permanent front teeth

After Growth Phase goals are met, appliances and braces are removed and retainers are provided to the patient. The time a retainer is worn can range from 12-36 months. During this period, the remaining permanent teeth are allowed to erupt. Periodic monitoring of the patient occurs to ensure Growth Phase results are maintained and to determine the optimum time to complete the second phase of treatment.

Alignment Phase

The Alignment Phase, also known as Phase II, begins when most of the permanent teeth have erupted. The last of the two phases, the Alignment Phase involves braces on all teeth. Treatment time ranges from 12-24 months. As in the Growth Phase, goals for the Alignment Phase are very specific:

  • Aligning the newly erupted permanent teeth
  • Obtaining total bite correction so teeth can function properly and last a lifetime
  • Maximizing facial esthetics to create a brilliant and attractive smile

Similar to the Growth Phase, the Alignment Phase ends with braces and any other appliances being removed and a retainer is issued to the patient to help ensure the newly transformed teeth maintain their beautiful appearance.

This is an example of normal growth and eruption. Our X-rays will reveal if your child has normal eruption timing and path/direction of the teeth or of any of the teeth are developing off track or are at risk of impacting.