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orthodontics

When to see an Orthodontist

Recognize any of these early warning signs? It might be time to schedule an orthodontic exam.

Seven or Eight years of age is the ideal time to schedule a visit with Dr. Podhouser in case early intervention is required for any of the reasons below:

  • Early or late loss of baby teeth
  • Difficulty chewing or biting
  • Mouth breathing
  • Finger sucking or other oral habits
  • Crowding, misplaced or blocked-out teeth
  • Jaws that shift, make sounds, protrude or are recessed
  • Speech difficulty
  • Biting the cheek or biting into the roof of the mouth
  • Protruding teeth
  • Teeth that meet in an abnormal way or don’t meet at all
  • Facial imbalance or asymmetry
  • Grinding or clinching of teeth

Two-Phase Treatment
Two-phase orthodontic treatment is a very specialized process that encompasses tooth straightening and physical, facial changes. One of the most important or critical part of doing Phase One is to prevent tooth extraction and surgery later on. The major advantage of a two-phase treatment is to maximize the opportunity to accomplish the ideal healthy, functional, aesthetic result that will remain stable throughout your life.

Phase One Treatment: The Foundation for a Lifetime of Healthy Smiles
The goal of first phase treatment is to develop the jaw size in order to accommodate all 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 and lower jaw that is growing too much or not enough can be recognized at an early age. If children after age six are found to have this jaw discrepancy, they are candidates for early orthodontic treatment.

Planning now can save your smile later
Because they are growing rapidly, children can benefit enormously from an early phase of orthodontic treatment utilizing appliances that direct the growth relationship of the upper and lower jaws. Thus, a good foundation can be established, providing adequate room for eruption of all permanent teeth. This early correction may prevent later removal of permanent teeth to correct overcrowding and/or surgical procedures to align the upper and lower jaws. Leaving such a condition untreated until all permanent teeth erupt could result in a jaw discrepancy too severe to achieve an ideal result with braces.

If your child has heavy snoring or sleep apnea issues, this is often associated with a narrow upper jaw and/or small lower jaw. Early treatment can significantly improve the developing child’s airway.

Second Phase Treatment: Stay healthy and look attractive
The goal of the second phase is to make sure each tooth has an exact location in the mouth where it is in harmony with the lips, cheeks, tongue, and other teeth. When this equilibrium is established, the teeth will function together properly.

Movement & Retention
At the beginning of the first phase, orthodontic records were made and a diagnosis and treatment plan established. Certain types of appliances were used in the first phase, as dictated by the problem. The second phase is initiated when all permanent teeth have erupted, and usually requires braces on all the teeth for an average of 24 months. Retainers are worn after this phase to ensure you retain your beautiful smile.

© American Association of Orthodontists and Braces.org, 01/17/2012