Recently we welcomed Dr. William Waite, our new orthodontist, to Hersch Pediatric Dentistry & Orthodontics, so we thought it would be the perfect time to ask him parents’ most common questions.
1. At what age can my child begin orthodontic treatment?
The American Association of Orthodontists recommends that children are seen by an orthodontist by age 7. There are certain orthodontic problems that are ideally treated as soon as the problems presents, and sometimes this occurs in children as young as 7. This type of “early” orthodontic treatment is called a phase I orthodontic treatment, and can be very beneficial to correct severe crowding or bite issues. Although the majority of children do not require orthodontic treatment at such a young age, these first orthodontic consult visits can be very informative for parents as to what the long term orthodontic plan will consist of for their child.
2. What if my child still has baby teeth?
When a phase I orthodontic treatment is recommended, there are often “baby” teeth remaining. One way to think about a phase I orthodontic treatment is that this treatment is concentrated on correcting issues with the “bones, and jaws”, and less on just straightening the teeth. It is not necessary to orthodontically straighten baby teeth, however, we can treat the surrounding bone structure, and create more space for the erupting permanent teeth.
3. Can crooked teeth self-correct over time?
Generally speaking, this does not occur very often. However, if we can correct a “bad” habit such as thumb sucking or a tongue thrust, the teeth will naturally begin to become more aligned since the “bad” habit is no longer negatively moving the teeth.
4. What should I expect at my child’s first visit?
At Hersch Pediatric Dentistry & Orthodontics, we truly strive to make each and every orthodontic visit a positive experience for both the patient, and their parent. At your child’s first visit, they will be greeted by one of our awesome, and friendly dental assistants. Our dental assistants have been chosen based not only on their skills in dentistry, but also on their compassionate, and kind demeanor. Your child will then have their “Orthodontic Records” taken by our assistant. These records consist of photos (intraoral, and extraoral), 2 x-rays, and potentially a 3D scan of their teeth. We utilize an Itero Intraoral scanner as a substitute for the traditional “goopy” impressions that none of us enjoy. Doctor Waite will then review the records. He will then review the findings from the exam with the parent, and patient. At this initial consultation, Dr. Waite will address any “problem” areas, as well as treatment solutions to resolve any issues.
5. How often will orthodontics appointments need to be scheduled?
The majority of orthodontic appointments are scheduled every 6-10 weeks. This all depends on the type of orthodontic problem that is being corrected, and the type of treatment that the patient is undergoing..
6. How long will my child’s treatment take?
This is highly variable, depending on the position of their teeth, and jaws. Generally, the treatment will take 1 year for a phase I treatment, and 18-24 months for more comprehensive treatments.
7. How can we maintain my child’s oral hygiene while wearing braces?
This is vitally important to achieve the most ideal orthodontic result. Our goal is to educate our patients, and their parents on proper oral hygiene techniques with braces. At each orthodontic adjustment appointment, the patient’s oral hygiene is evaluated, and poor oral hygiene habits are corrected as soon as possible at the start of orthodontic treatment.
8. After my child finishes their treatment, will there be tooth discoloration?
Assuming that proper oral hygiene instructions are followed, tooth discoloration or staining is very rare.
9. Which orthodontics treatments are necessary and which are optional?
Severe problems with a child’s bite are necessary to correct at a young age. Some of these “bite” problems that are necessary to correct at an early age are “underbites”, and “crossbites”. We can correct the majority of bite problems if treatment is started when a patient is still undergoing jaw growth.
10. Will the orthodontic treatment be painful?
Thankfully, the vast majority of orthodontic patients get accustomed to their braces or Invisalign very soon after starting their treatment. I am a big believer in using “light” forces to orthodontically move teeth, and this can lead to more comfortable treatment. The patient can still feel soreness, however, our goal is to minimize the pain or soreness as much as possible.