The Benefits of Early Treatment
What are the benefits of early orthodontic evaluation?
Early evaluation provides both timely detection of problems and greater opportunity for more effective treatment. Early intervention guides growth and development, preventing serious problems later. When orthodontic intervention is not necessary, an orthodontist can carefully monitor growth and development and begin treatment when it is ideal.
Why is age 7 considered the optimal time for screening?
By the age of 7, the first adult molars erupt, establishing the bite in the back of the mouth. During this time, an orthodontist can evaluate front-to-back and side-to-side tooth relationships, and predict changes. For example, the presence of erupting incisors (front teeth) can indicate possible overbite, open bite, crowding, or gummy smiles. Timely screening increases the chances for a sensational smile later in life.
What are the advantages of Early Treatment?
Early treatment is also known as interceptive treatment or Phase I treatment. Some of the most direct results of interceptive treatment are: creating room for crowded, erupting teeth, creating facial symmetry through influencing jaw growth, reducing the risk of trauma to protruding front teeth, preserving space for teeth that are coming in, reducing the need for tooth removal, and reducing Phase II treatment time with braces. Phase II treatment occurs when all of the permanent teeth erupt and usually involves a full set of braces.
Does everyone need Phase I treatment?
No. Only certain bites would benefit from early intervention. In most instances, it is best to wait until all the baby teeth are nearly gone before starting orthodontics. Dr. Inouye diagnoses and consider the problems of each patient individually, in order to determine the optimal time to begin treatment.
How long will Phase I treatment take?
Typically, Phase I treatment takes between 6 and 10 months, depending on the age of the patient, the type of problem being addressed, and the patient’s motivation/cooperation. Dr. Inouye approaches Phase I treatment with a “get in…get out” strategy so that the benefit is maximized while the duration is minimized.
If my child has Phase I treatment, will additional treatment be necessary?
Most of the time, yes. Although in some cases Phase I treatment makes it so that all the permanent teeth will erupt perfectly, additional treatment can usually be expected. Once all the permanent teeth are in, additional treatment (usually called Phase II orthodontics) would serve to put all of the adult teeth in positions of optimal comfort, function, aesthetics, and long-term stability.
Are you ready for a more perfect smile? We'd love to meet you! With offices located in Charlottesville and Wayneboro, we serve clients throughout Central Virginia. Call us today at 434-975-7435