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 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. This would be considered Phase I of treatment.
Phase II of treatment usually begins once all the permanent teeth have erupted, around 12 or 13 years of age. The primary objective for Phase II treatment is to attain a proper bite and to enhance the appearance of your smile.
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, such as crowding, severe overbite, thumb sucking, narrow jaws, etc. When orthodontic intervention is not necessary, an orthodontist can carefully monitor growth and development and begin treatment when it is ideal.
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. 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.
Some of the most direct results of interceptive treatment are:
Extraction therapy is sometimes necessary to make room for other teeth. For some, as many as eight teeth (primary and permanent) may need to be removed.
Generally, Phase I treatment will last approximately six to 15 months. Following this time period, most patients are placed in our growth evaluation period for 18 months to three years, which allows Dr. Boni to monitor the development of your child’s mouth. Once all the permanent teeth are in place, phase II treatment begins, which can last anywhere from six to 18 months.
Full or comprehensive orthodontic treatment usually occurs when Phase I treatment was not performed. This can occur at any age once all the permanent teeth have erupted. Comprehensive orthodontic treatment can last from 12 to 24 months.
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.
According to studies by the American Association of Orthodontists, untreated malocclusions can result in a variety of problems:
Ultimately, orthodontics does more than make a pretty smile—it creates a healthier you.