At what age should a child first visit the orthodontist?
The American Association of Orthodontists recommends that most children should have an orthodontic screening by age 7. Many of the dentists in our community have been trained to identify orthodontic problems early, and may refer you to our office earlier than age 7.
Why are children being evaluated at such an early age?
Early diagnosis and treatment can offer many advantages to the growing patient.
Early treatment can alter the width of the upper and lower dental arches to gain space for permanent teeth. This may help avoid the need for permanent tooth extractions and also reduce the likelihood of future impacted teeth. We can also help eliminate persistent finger habits and swallowing or speech problems.
Some orthodontic issues can not be addressed until growth is more advanced or completed. Dr. Hage will develop a plan for treatment based on the individual child’s needs. If he decides the child is not ready for treatment, we can place them on our orthodontic supervisory program.
What is the Orthodontic Supervisory Program?
The orthodontic supervisory program is for patients who are not ready for treatment and is the basis of our recall system. This program enables Dr. Hage to monitor the eruptive pattern of the permanent teeth. Dr. Hage may selectively choose to remove certain baby teeth to help with eruption of adult teeth. We will always notify your general dentist of any recommendations made during your visit. On recall, we normally see the patients every 6-8 months to observe their progress as they grow. There is no fee for this program and it helps Dr. Hage determine the optimum time to begin treatment and achieve the best possible result for your child.
In addition to a beautiful new smile, what are some other benefits of orthodontic treatment?
Braces can improve function of the bite and teeth, improve ability to clean the teeth, prevent wear on the teeth, and increase the longevity of natural teeth over a lifetime.
If a child has treatment early, will this prevent the need for braces as an adolescent?
Early treatment can begin the correction of significant problems, prevent more severe problems from developing, and simplify future treatment. Because all of the permanent teeth have not erupted when early treatment is begun, their final alignment can not always be corrected. Typically, a shortened comprehensive phase of treatment (Phase II – full braces) in the teen years completes the correction. However, in some circumstances further orthodontic treatment may not be indicated.
Do we still need to see our family dentist during orthodontic treatment?
Yes! Patients with braces and other orthodontic appliances require more effort to keep their teeth and gums clean. Because we want to insure the highest level of dental health, we recommend you see your family dentist for regular check-ups and cleanings every 6 months during treatment.