While orthodontic treatment is not a service provided by our office, Dr. Drew has had training and experience doing orthodontic assessment and treatment planning throughout his career. He has the diagnostic ability to identify when an orthodontic problem is present and explain to you what problems need to be addressed. Once the problems are identified, he will provide information to you regarding a referral to an orthodontist (a dentist who has received specialty training specifically in the art of orthodontics). The orthodontist will provide a more detailed assessment, a detailed diagnostic treatment plan, and treatment options for your child, and will be the person who actually places braces or growth modification appliances. Cleaning appointments can still be performed by Dr. Drew at our office on a regular 6 month basis (more frequently if needed), and these can be coordinated with your orthodontist upon request.
The American Association of Orthodontics (AAO) recommends that children visit an orthodontist as soon as their dentist notices that there might be a problem or by the age of seven years old. You may say, “Why would my child need to have braces at such a young age?” That’s a great question, and we have an answer for you! At this age, we may not have to do anything other than monitor their growth and development until a later age. However, if a problem arises that needs attention, early interceptive treatment can improve the growth patterns of the teeth and jaw structures, as well as improve spacing for future permanent teeth to erupt. It also helps you and your child establish a relationship with a provider who can help monitor growth and development should the need for orthodontic treatment be necessary down the road.
There are many reasons to evaluate children for treatment at a younger age. Early interceptive treatment allows us to do the following:
- Provide more space for the permanent teeth when there is overcrowding
- Ensure facial symmetry
- Reduce the risk for trauma when the front teeth are protruding
- Reduce the need to remove teeth
- Improve occlusion (the way the teeth come together) to reduce potential damage from bruxism (grinding).
- Reduce the time patients must wear braces.
- Eliminate or improve crossbites and openbites that can result in unfavorable or adverse growth patterns, malocclusions, tongue-thrusting habits, and speech impediments.
We truly believe that orthodontic care is about more than just a pretty smile. We believe that it can make your child have a healthier mouth and can change their quality of life. If you have any questions about orthodontic care, don’t hesitate to contact us today at (615)-614-2424.